Pierce two assists shy of triple-double

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Knicks were so bad in their home

opener, even Howard Stern was offended.

The shock jock and his girlfriend walked out of Madison Square

Garden in disgust midway through the third quarter Saturday night,

long after fans began booing the Knicks in a 107-73 loss to the

Boston Celtics.

Paul Pierce scored 28 points, Ricky Davis added 20, and the

Celtics shot 56 percent to win for the first time this season after

opening with two losses at home.

Boston blew fourth-quarter leads in both of those games, but

there would be no repeat this time against a Knicks team that was

even shakier on defense than it was on offense.

The 34-point loss represented the largest margin of defeat in a

home opener in team history.

"I would have booed, too, if I was a fan. The way we played

tonight we deserved to get booed," Stephon Marbury said. "We were

terrible. In all areas of playing basketball we were bad tonight.

Everything that entails going into winning a basketball game, we

had none of it."

Boston certainly did.

Pierce took care of the outside shooting, and the rest of the

Celtics repeatedly drove inside, exerted greater effort on the

boards and came up with nearly every hustle play against an

undersized and nonaggressive Knicks defense.

Boston began pulling away late in the first quarter, then closed

the first half with a 13-0 run.

When the boos began they weren't all that loud, but the

disparaging decibel level increased tenfold by the time the Knicks

walked off at intermission after Tim Thomas ended the half by

firing up an airball off an isolation play.

"This is New York. We wanted to win in the worst way and play

our best basketball, but each and every night it's not going to

happen," Thomas said. "But for that to happen, it was just

uncalled for. It was just a terrible night."

The third quarter began with a turnover by Kurt Thomas -- one of

19 by New York -- a 3-pointer by Gary Payton, a miss by the Knicks

and a 3-point set shot by Pierce for a 61-36 lead.

The Celtics went ahead by as many as 33 before the third quarter

ended, and the only suspense in the fourth quarter revolved around

how many fans would stick around until the end. (About 8,000 did).

Pierce shot 10-for-18 from the field and 6-for-6 from the line

with 10 rebounds and eight assists. Payton added nine points,

leaving him 15 shy of becoming the 29th player in NBA history to

score 20,000.

"We heard things that were said, that this was the easy part of

the schedule before they went out on the road," Boston coach Doc

Rivers said. "Our guys read the paper, too."

None of the Knicks had a good game, especially Nazr Mohammed. He

scored just four points in eight first-half minutes and didn't

return, getting replaced by Vin Baker as the starting center for

the beginning of the second half.

Marbury scored 12 and Jamal Crawford had 11. Reserve forward

Michael Sweetney led New York with 18 points.

Game notes
Other courtside celebrities included Paris Hilton, Woody

Allen and Spike Lee. ... Knicks backup guard Penny Hardaway sat out

because of a strained right hamstring. ... Pierce took an elbow to

the mouth late in the second quarter that drew blood, but he

returned before halftime. ... Shandon Anderson, the player the

Knicks have been trying to trade or buy out of his contract, was on

the floor for the final 20 minutes and did not score.