Celtics crush depleted Knicks, 111-81

Celtics crush depleted Knicks, 111-81
October 12, 2013, 10:00 pm
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MANCHESTER, N.H. — Never mind the fact that the New York Knicks sat most of their core players and fielded a squad on Saturday that had a very summer league-like feel about them, even by NBA preseason standards.

It didn't matter.

As much as the Boston Celtics need to understand that they are in the early stages of what's sure to be a bumpy road ahead, they very much needed to see the fruits of their labor result in a sweet win which was the case in Saturday's 111-81 blowout win over the Knicks.

Prior to the game, the Knicks opted to sit several key players such as All-Star Carmelo Anthony, Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler.

Their absence clearly paved a smoother path to victory for Boston (1-3) which came into the game planning to play everyone except Keith Bogans (sprained right thumb) and Gerald Wallace (rest).

For the first time this preseason, the Celtics put together a dominant start to the game which set into motion Brad Stevens' first win as an NBA head coach.

And it was the backcourt tandem of Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford leading the way with a combined 12 first-quarter points to help the Celtics race out to a commanding 28-15 lead after the first quarter.

Boston's control remained steady in the second quarter as more players got into the act.

Jared Sullinger who continues to be Boston's best inside scoring threat, was at it again on Saturday.

After the Knicks cut Boston's lead to 38-33, Sullinger muscled his way past Cole Aldrich for a lay-up.

But the Knicks, playing without most of their top players, continued to keep the game from getting away from them and were within three points (45-42) following a 3-pointer by Andrea Bargnani.

But the Celtics closed out the half with a strong run, similar to how they started the game.

Boston scored seven of the final eight points of the second quarter to lead, 52-43 at the half.

New York's lone point came after the Celtics were whistled for their third delay of game, which is a technical foul free throw after the first one is called.

Boston began the third quarter with a 10-2 run and soon saw its lead soar past the 20-point plateau following a pair of Brandon Bass free throws with 6:38 to play in the quarter that gave the Celtics a 69-48 lead.

From there, the Celtics' control - much like they their lead - continued to grow.

Surely not having to contend with New York's top players aided the Celtics' win.

But for this team it didn't matter.

All the talk about progress can only go so far until the ultimate goal - victory - is reached.