Tip-off was just after noon Sunday, but the Knicks didn't show up until the second quarter. And even that was a brief appearance as the Knicks endured their lowest point under Mike Woodson.
Looking zapped of energy, flat and as if they didn't care, the Knicks trailed by 45 points in the fourth quarter in a 114-73 loss to the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden.
"What Boston came here and did was an embarrassment," Carmelo Anthony said. "To lose like that on our home court, I think everybody should be [ticked] off.
"Right now, it's no need for me to try to pinpoint what happened, what went wrong out there. A good old-fashioned [butt]-whipping to me."
The Knicks were booed during a performance that reflected poorly on Woodson. As well as the Knicks played in winning their previous two games by 30 and 38 points -- which seemed to earn Woodson a little reprieve after a nine-game losing streak -- this could put the heat back on him. The Knicks are 5-14 overall and 2-8 at home.
"It's a step backwards," Woodson said. "I thought we had turned the corner somewhat. It just goes to show you if you don't come out ready to play -- and a lot of that's on me as a coach. I can't have guys stepping on the floor doing what they did."
The players continue to defend Woodson and say it's their fault. After winning those two games by a total of 68 points, it looked as if the Knicks -- who were without starting center Kenyon Martin because of ankle soreness --were going to fall behind by that much Sunday.
It was 12-0 and 18-1 before the Celtics took their biggest lead of the first quarter at 32-7. These are not the championship-caliber Celtics of recent memory, either. They're a rebuilding team -- one that leads the Atlantic Division at 10-12 -- without their best player, Rajon Rondo. But the Knicks made them look like legit contenders.
The Celtics shot 54.2 percent overall, 56.0 percent from three-point range. Their starters outscored the Knicks' first team 89-29. Jordan Crawford and Jared Sullinger -- not exactly Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in their prime -- had 23 and 21 points for Boston, which led by double figures the last 44:52.
"I'm not happy about how we played," Woodson said. "Nobody in that locker room, our fans, nobody should be happy about watching something like this."
Anthony scored 19 but shot 5-for-15. Starters Andrea Bargnani (1-for-7), Iman Shumpert (0-for-6) and Raymond Felton (0-for-6) totaled 1-for-19 shooting and two points.
Amar'e Stoudemire shot 5-for-7 and had 17 points in 20:58. Pablo Prigioni had four assists and ran the offense in the second quarter as the Knicks tried to climb back in it. They got within 46-29 before being outscored 20-2 in the next 7:22. "We got to wash this off in the shower," J.R. Smith said.
The Knicks have proved they're not a good early-afternoon team. When they played the Spurs at noon Nov. 10, they fell behind by 18 in the first quarter and trailed by as much as 37.
The Grizzlies probably can't wait until they visit the Garden on Dec. 21 in a noon start.
The players say they're to blame. "It's definitely on us," Smith said. "If people weren't ready to play, that's just on us. We've got to be prepared to step on the court whether it's 12 o'clock, 7 o'clock, 8 o'clock, no matter what time the game is. That's our job as professionals."