Carmelo Anthony didn't need to have a big scoring night for the Knicks to beat Boston Tuesday night. The way the Celtics played the first three quarters, Anthony might have been able to challenge them all by himself if he got really hot.
The Knicks had payback on their minds after Boston beat them by 41 points the last time these two teams met at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks jumped on Boston early and rolled to their third straight win, a 114-88 rout.
"Today's game in particular was kind of personal," Kenyon Martin said. "The way they beat us last time we played, we wanted a little get-back."
That mentality combined with the rebuilding Celtics seemingly more focused on draft lottery ping-pong balls than winning games led to an easy night for the Knicks (18-27).
They were ahead by as many as 35 points in the second half, and held a double-digit lead for the last 41:50. Their seldom-used players allowed the Celtics to flirt with 90 points. Boston only had 59 after three.
"It felt good," Anthony said. "You just saw the level of focus that we had coming into the game, us keeping that in the back of our mind, the games that we had against the Celtics previously. Tonight was a different story."
It allowed Anthony, the league leader in minutes, to sit and watch more than he normally does.
Anthony, who totaled 97 points in the previous two games, had 24 Tuesday night and grabbed nine rebounds in 28 minutes. He didn't play the fourth quarter.
Jeremy Tyler shot 7-for-9 and scored 17 points off the bench. J.R. Smith also had 17 and Tim Hardaway had 16. The Knicks reserves scored 63 points. Tyson Chandler shot 5-for-6, and had 12 points and 13 rebounds. He rolled his ankle in the third quarter, but said he was fine.
But there is concern about Iman Shumpert. He left in the first quarter after spraining his right shoulder. Mike Woodson said he didn't know how long Shumpert would be out. He's the only Knick to play in every game this season.
Martin, who returned from a five-game absence with a sprained left ankle, left in the second quarter after re-aggravating it. He said he could have come back, but he was held out. He shot 3-for-3 and had six points and a block in nine minutes.
Jeff Green's 14 points led the Celtics, who lost for the 15th time in 17 games. Rajon Rondo, playing in just his sixth game since returning from a torn ACL, looked totally out of sync.
He shot 3-for-13 and had seven points and five assists. Rondo hasn't made a big impact for the Celtics. They're 0-6 with Rondo.
"Good old-fashioned butt kicking is what it was," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "Whatever we are record-wise, we're not a good basketball team.
The Celtics (15-32) don't look anything like the team that beat the Knicks twice this season. The Knicks, who go for their fourth straight win at home Thursday against the Cavs are playing much differently lately.
"They're more committed now," Woodson said. "There's a sense of urgency. We're playing better basketball right now."
They jumped all over Boston similar to the way the Celtics did the Knicks in here last time, when they led 25-3. The Knicks raced out to a 24-7 lead after hitting 10 of their first 15 shots.
The onslaught continued in the second quarter as the Knicks went on a 14-2 run and led 45-20. The Celtics answered with 11 consecutive points. But the Knicks ended the half with an 18-6 surge and took a 63-37 cushion into halftime. Their lead grew to 35 points in the third.
"We're figuring it out, trying to figure it out," Anthony said. "Each day is a new day and we're just trying to figure everything out."