BOSTON — It took Carmelo Anthony 99 seconds to knock down his first three-pointer. Moments later, he hit another. And then another.
Just like that, the Celtics were down big and despite a feisty effort in the third quarter, were unable to make up enough ground as the New York Knicks pulled away for a 116-92 victory.
Anthony's shooting was just part of a barrage of 3s made by the Knicks who finished shooting 11-of-19 on 3s for the game, and 9-for-10 in the first half.
"Because of their shooting all around, they were really in a good rhythm," said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. "And it started with Carmelo hitting those in isolation."
Indeed, Anthony's shooting success in the first half seemed to be the spark needed for the rest of the Knicks who have now won five straight.
"Everyone was making shots for them," said Boston's Kris Humphries. "They just played well."
Knicks coach Mike Woodson said the team's success of late has been aided by some much-improved 3-point shooting.
"We've been shooting the hell out of the ball and our defense has been on par as well, so it's a good combination to have," Woodson said.
With Amare Stoudemire (rest), Tyson Chandler (personal reasons), Kenyon Martin (left ankle) and Andrea Bargnani (left elbow) all out, the Knicks had to go with a small, shooter-friendly lineup.
Despite New York's lack of size, they still managed to out-rebound the Celtics 47-38 as well as hurt the Celtics with their long-range shooting.
"To their credit," Stevens said, "they were executing at a high level with a very small team, very fast team, very skilled team. And they used that speed to hurt us on the other end of the floor, too."
With that, here's the Good, the Bad and the Ugly from the Celtics' latest loss.
He was in the mood to dominate; well at least for one quarter. Green led the Celtics with 27 points, 17 of which came in the third quarter when he brought the C's within nine points after being down by 24.
Boston didn't get much in terms of production or energy from its bench on Wednesday which scored a total of 19 points - that's three points less than Knicks reserve Tim Hardaway Jr. had by himself. Without points or many high-energy plays, Boston had no shot at winning.
Boston gave the Knicks far too many easy looks at the basket, and that gave them added confidence to knock down the contested ones. In the first half, New York shot a blistering 60.3 percent from the field which included them connecting on 9-for-10 from 3-point range.
"They got an early start, gave them a rhythm and it was hard to get them out of that rhythm," said Celtics forward Jeff Green.