NEW YORK - The Boston Celtics demolished the New York Knicks, 114-73, behind a game-high 23 points from Jordan Crawford at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.
The Atlantic Division-leading Celtics (10-12) ran wire-to-wire for the win over a Knicks squad (5-14) that was going for its first three-game winning streak of the season. Instead, Boston picked up its third victory in a row to extend a divisional lead in a game the Knicks trailed by many as 27 points in the first half, including a 23-3 deficit in the first quarter.
With the Knicks in what has become a typical Sunday matinee slumber to begin the game, the Celtics started hot, shooting an impressive 55 percent from the field, including 50 percent from 3-point range (7 of 14) in the first half, and stayed that way for the game, finishing at 53.5 percent from the field (56 percent in 3s).
About the only saving grace for the Knicks was the ascending play of Amar'e Stoudemire, who scored 17 points. Stoudemire's inspired effort earned him the second-half start in place of struggling rookie Tim Hardaway, Jr.
The rookie wasn't the only problem -- New York's starting unit shot 3-of-23 (13 percent) in the first half.
Stoudemire had a team-high 11 points in 11 minutes in the first half, continuing a resurgence as he sheds the rust accumulated following offseason knee procedure. The only other Knicks to reach double-digit scoring were Metta World Peace, with 12 points off the bench, and Carmelo Anthony, with 19 points -- on 5-of-15 shooting.
Boston received balanced scoring that included Jared Sullinger's 21 points, 16 points apiece from Brandon Bass and Jeff Green and 13 points by Avery Bradley.
NOTES: Boston's led by as many as 45 points. ... It was the fourth time this season that New York lost a game in which it never held a lead. ... The Knicks shot 37.5 in 3-pointers (six made), down from their average of 12 made field goals from behind the arc in their previous two wins. ... Normally subdued Celtics PG Pablo Prigioni earned his second technical foul of the season, late in the third quarter. ... The Celtics hammered the Knicks on the boards, 46-26. ... Celtics PG Avery Bradley was the surprising leader in rebounds for the game with 10. ... Boston SG Jordan Crawford knocked down a game-high six 3s. Crawford also had a game-high seven assists. ... All five Boston starters reached double-digit scoring.