NEW YORK, March 29 (Ticker) -- The New York Knicks appear to be collecting double-digit losses. All-Star Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics gave them another one.

Pierce scored 17 of his 22 points in the first half and rookie Ryan Gomes had 15 points and 13 rebounds as the Celtics coasted to a 123-98 triumph over the Knicks, who have dropped six straight games.

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Boston (30-42) pulled within three games of Philadelphia (32-38) for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Celtics need a little luck as seven of their final 10 games are against postseason-bound clubs.

"I think we came and just handled our business," said Pierce, who made 7-of-14 shots in 29 minutes. "It's very important to get a big lead. We know that if we just move the ball, we can shoot a high percentage and have a lot of fun."

New York dropped to 13-23 at home as it fell behind, 71-51, at intermission and never was able to cut the deficit to single digits. Four of its losses during the slide have been by 10 points or more.

"It is what it is," New York forward Malik Rose said. "The cards have been dealt, we have to play them. We have to concentrate on getting better on defense. We have to use the last 12 games to learn the steps of getting better. Maybe that will help, I don't know."

The Knicks struggled with their transition defense, allowing Boston 33 fast-break points, 19 before the break.

"Same old, same old - we can't guard anybody," Knicks coach Larry Brown said. "We don't do a good job of getting back. They had 33 points on the break and could have had 100."

Brown already is looking at remaking the roster for next season.

"I hope we get players in here that want to defend," Brown added. "I hope the players we keep, that's a priority."

High-flying teenage rookie Gerald Green, who scored eight points, helped the Celtics take a 46-33 advantage at the 9:17 mark in the second quarter with his baseline floater over Eddy Curry.

"The biggest point for us was when we went deep into the bench in the second quarter," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "We kept the lead and we actually extended the lead, and you see how young the bench is. Gerald was fantastic in the first half."

Wally Szczerbiak scored 13 of his 22 points before halftime and Delonte West added 21 for the Celtics, who shot 57 percent (44-of-77) from the field and had six players in double figures.

"You have to evaluate this game on how the young guys came off the bench," said West, who added six assists. "We moved the ball well. It's good to get some confidence."

Boston has looked unstoppable recently against New York, winning 15 of the last 19 meetings, including a three-game streak this season.

"I don't go into a game thinking of that," Pierce said. "You never know what can happen the next game. You can tell this is a team that's ready to get the season over with. They (Knicks) don't play together, they don't play hard."

The Celtics played without rookie guard Orien Greene, who was suspended indefinitely by the team after reportedly being arrested and charged with speeding Monday.

Curry and Qyntel Woods scored 20 points apiece and Stephon Marbury added 19 for the Knicks, who shot 46 percent (35-of-76).