NEW YORK — Final: Celtics 113-96: An absolute blowout here at Madison Square Garden. The teams were primed for this kind of game in the first half but the score didn’t indicate it. It sure did in the second half. Paul Pierce finishes with 38 points, Ray Allen with 32. The Celtics lead the series, 3-0.
3:45 4th quarter, Celtics 106-84: It’s over now. The Celtics can’t miss in the fourth quarter. Pierce now has 35 points, Allen 32 points. Rondo just recorded his 20th assist, which is a new Celtics playoff record.
6:58 4th quarter, Celtics 94-74: Ray Allen with his seventh 3-pointer in nine attempts. He’s 14 of 18 in the series.
9:30 4th quarter, Celtics 88-70: Paul Pierce with a jumper, elbow. He’s got 27 points.
End 3d quarter, Celtics 86-63: Heard “you’re a joke” and “you going to play some defense or what?” from Knicks fans directed at their team. This is not the way to host your first playoff game. Can’t blame the fans on this one.
Rondo’s got a triple-double.
3:42 3d quarter, Celtics 77-56: This is getting out of hand. If the Celtics can hold the lead with their bench in the game, this one’s over.
Amar’e Stoudemire has not looked right all game for the Knicks. He’s got 5 points and 1 rebound in 26 minutes.
5:37 3d quarter, Celtics 73-56: Fans are getting very, very frustrated here. The Knicks have looked like an inferior team all night, and now it’s starting to show up on the scoreboard. New York has 15 turnovers.
8:25 3d quarter, Celtics 63-50: Pierce and Allen still carrying the Celtics. They’ve combined for eight 3-pointers.
Halftime, Celtics 52-44: The Celtics look like such a confident team with the starting five on the floor. Allen and Pierce have combined for 33 of Boston’s 52 points. Garnett has 7 rebounds. Rondo has 8 assists.
Rondo’s doing it all for the Celtics. He even took to guarding Carmelo Anthony down the stretch of that first half, just as he did with Miami’s LeBron James earlier this season. Boston’s strategy with Anthony seems pretty clear: deny the ball, double-team, and force him to give it up to one of his teammates, who are clearly playing inferior basketball compared with the Knicks superstar. The Celtics want to let anyone but ‘Melo beat them.
Jeff Green has 7 points for the Celtics off the bench. The rest of the Celtics bench: 0 points.
2:27 2d quarter, Celtics 46-37: Amazing timing on the last pass by Rajon Rondo to Paul Pierce. With the Celtics on a 3-on-1, Rondo held onto the ball just long enough to draw the defender before dishing the ball off to Paul Pierce.
5:25 2d quarter, Celtics 40-33: Maybe the play of the postseason for Rajon Rondo (his postseason, that is). Rondo got a rebound and fed Jermaine O’Neal, who missed a chippie. Rondo then got another rebound, dribbled between his legs on the baseline, then found Ray Allen for a three. Pleased with himself, Rondo pumped his fist at halfcourt after knowing he created something out of nothing.
7:23 2d quarter, Celtics 37-29: Hasn’t been pretty. Celtics shooting just 39 percent.
8:01 2d quarter, Celtics 34-29: Both teams are taking a risk here. The Knicks are going without Carmelo Anthony (though Amar’e Stoudemire is in), while Ray Allen is the only Celtics starter on the floor. Still not dazzled by the Celtics bench. Something’s up with Delonte West (0 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 steal in eight minutes). He just doesn’t look like himself.
11:03 2d quarter, Celtics 29-20: Just when it seems like Jeff Green is completely lost on the court, he steps into the passing lane and takes it the other way to draw the foul. We know he can do that. Now let’s see if he can work effectively in the halfcourt offense.
End 1st quarter, Celtics 27-20: The Knicks closed the first on a 15-5 run to get back into this game. Same problem the Celtics had last game, not closing quarters. A shame to waste such a great start like that. The Knicks looked overmatched and now have confidence.
3:06 1st quarter, Celtics 22-9: Kevin Garnett picks up his second personal, but he’s staying in the game to guard Stoudemire. There’s a chance Stoudemire doesn’t play in the second half, so maybe Doc Rivers figures he’s got to leave KG in.
4:58 1st quarter, Celtics 18-5: The natives are getting restless. Careless basketball for the Knicks. Celtrics are shooting 40 percent but are putting a hurting on New York so far. Pierce has 12.
9:14 1st quarter, Celtics 9-0: Great start for the Celtics. Paul Pierce with seven quick points.
11:34 1st quarter, Tied at 0: Amar’e Stoudemire starts the game for the Knicks. Knicks start the game with a shot-clock violation.
Pregame: Spike Lee just walked by. It’s just about that time then.
Let’s get it.