Knicks nearly set record for futility in blowout loss

Celtics win by 45
December 1, 2007 9:06:03 AM PST
The New York Knicks' brief winning streak is history, and the Boston Celtics nearly made history ending it.The Celtics cruised to their biggest victory since Larry Bird was in high school, beating New York 104-59 on Thursday night to send the Knicks to their third-worst loss and their second-worst scoring performance of the shot-clock era.

"Of course I am embarrassed. We lost by nearly 50 points," Knicks guard Stephon Marbury said. "I'm angry. I'm always angry when I lose, but that was just flat-out embarrassing. To lose that bad was just ridiculous."

It was the sixth-biggest win in Celtics history and the biggest since a 153-107 victory over the Baltimore Bullets in 1970 - five NBA titles ago.

Only Nate Robinson's 37-foot 3-pointer at the final buzzer saved the Knicks from scoring the fewest points in franchise history. That might not be enough to save coach Isiah Thomas from getting fired: He was all-but-gone during an eight-game losing streak before earning a reprieve with two straight wins.

Now the Knicks are embarrassing themselves again.

"We take two steps forward and one giant step back," Thomas said. "I don't know where this game came from. I thought we played extremely selfish tonight ... Definitely didn't see this type of game coming after the last two games we played. This was just not a good night."

And, unlike the Boston area's NFL team, the Celtics didn't even try to run up the score.

Kevin Garnett played just 22 minutes, scoring eight points before leaving the game midway through the third quarter with Boston ahead 69-34. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen also sat out the fourth quarter and played 29 minutes apiece.

"I can't even remember having that much rest," Garnett said. "It's good, because we have back-to-back games. Rest is important at this time."

Rajon Rondo dribbled out 24 of the final 26 seconds, turning the ball over on purpose rather than go for a 50-point win. Robinson followed with long jumper off the inbound pass to save the Knicks from their lowest-scoring game in the shot clock era.

The exchange kept Boston from threatening it's biggest-ever win, a 153-102 victory over Philadelphia on March 7, 1962.

"I'm never great in math," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "So I couldn't figure out if we were up by 30. I wasn't even paying a lot of attention to it. But I knew we were playing well and, obviously, I looked."

Robinson finished with 11 points - the only New York player in double figures.

Pierce and Allen scored 21 apiece and Garnett finished with 11 rebounds for the Celtics, who were coming off an overtime loss at Cleveland - just their second defeat of the season. Boston improved to 8-0 at home, and the Knicks remained winless on the road.

The Knicks were last within 10 points with 4:11 left in the first period. They didn't come within 20 after the Celtics took a 39-18 lead with 5:27 left in the second. Boston made it 30 points for good with 9:14 left in the third, and then extended it to 40 less than five minutes later.

Eddie House hit a 3-pointer to give Boston a 50-point lead, 93-43, with 8:53 to play in the game.

"It wasn't about the score, it was about us going out there and getting better," Pierce said. "At one point, I didn't even know we were up 40 points."