Game Preview: Knicks at Celtics
BOSTON - The Boston Celtics pounded the New York Knicks in the most lopsided game in the NBA this season this past weekend.
The woeful Knicks will look for revenge - and only their second set of back-to-back wins of the season - when the teams meet again in Boston on Friday night.
The Celtics' 114-73 victory at New York on Sunday was a blowout from the start, with Boston scoring the first 12 points and never looking back. The Celtics shot 54.2 percent from the field, and Boston had two players score at least 20 points, while the Knicks' starters totaled 29.
"What Boston came in here and did was an embarrassment," Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony said after the game. " ... We move on."
The Knicks are averaging 93.8 points, among the lowest in the league, despite Anthony's 25.6 a contest.
Anthony scored 30 as New York earned a desperately needed win after two straight losses Wednesday, 83-78 over Chicago at home. He went 11 of 12 from the line and added 10 rebounds for the Knicks, who squandered a 23-point lead before hanging on.
"From a mental standpoint, if this game would have got away from us, ain't no telling what would have happened," Anthony said.
Amar'e Stoudemire finished with 14 points and nine rebounds and keyed a 19-0 second-quarter spurt. Averaging 7.3 points, the reserve forward has totaled 46 in the past three contests - his best three-game stretch of the season.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson called the 41-point loss to Boston "a step backwards," and he'll be hoping his team continues its road defensive prowess as it seeks revenge. New York is giving up 93.8 points per game away from home, compared to 101.3 at Madison Square Garden.
"We can't keep saying this every game, we got to start stepping it up and start playing," Woodson said.
The Knicks, though, were dealt a major blow when it was announced Thursday that starting point guard Raymond Felton is expected to miss two to three weeks with a strained left hamstring.
Felton, averaging 10.3 points and 5.2 assists, has been bothered by the hamstring for much of the season and the Knicks finally decided to shut him down. He had an MRI exam Thursday to confirm the injury.
Iman Shumpert, the other starting guard, is listed as day to day with a bruised left knee. He was hurt Wednesday when he banged knees during a collision on the court.
Boston has dropped two straight since the win over New York, falling 96-88 on Wednesday in an emotional defeat to former coach Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers in Rivers' return to TD Garden.
"We were just trying to win a game, plain and simple," said forward Jeff Green, who scored 29 points.
The Celtics will look to get back on track by doing a better job defending the 3-point line. The Celtics allow 5.4 made 3-pointers per game, fewest in the NBA, and despite allowing only six to Los Angeles, two of them by Jamal Crawford in the final minutes put the game out of reach after the Celtics had made it a one-possession score.
Boston averaged 109.3 points during three consecutive wins that preceded their back-to-back losses, but they've scored 92.0 per game in the defeats.
Celtics rookie center Kelly Olynyk could return Friday after missing the past 10 games. Olynyk, who averaged 7.5 points and 5.4 rebounds before being sidelined with a sprained right ankle, had a chance to play Wednesday but was held out again.