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Pierce scores 21 as Celtics humiliate Knicks

Nov 30, 2007 - 6:57 AM BOSTON (Ticker) -- The Boston Celtics provided New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas an ugly sight that even he had not seen before.

Paul Pierce scored 21 points and Ray Allen added 16 as the Boston Celtics pounded the gutless New York Knicks, 104-59, on Thursday.

The abysmal Knicks avoided a franchise-record low points when Nate Robinson threw in a 54-footer as the buzzer sounded.

"That was embarrassing, no way around it, no excuses; that was embarrassing," Knicks guard Jamal Crawford said. "Unfortunately sometimes things like this happen, but you have to bounce back. We haven't quit on the team or anything - it was just a bad game for us."

New York, which had won two straight coming in, shot just 32 percent (13-of-41) in the first half, failed to force a turnover and trailed, 54-31, at the break. The performance prompted the embattled Thomas to call it the "most selfish half of basketball he had ever seen."

"I don't know where this came from, I definitely did not see this game coming after the last two games that we played and the way we were playing and moving, this was not a good night, not a good night," Thomas said. "I thought tonight we didn't compete, we just weren't competitive. Boston came out with a playoff-type intensity, a national television game and we didn't respond to that type of energy and it's disappointing."

Boston scored the first 11 points in the second half, squelching any comeback thoughts by New York.

Big men Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph combined to shoot 2-of-15 in the first half as New York dropped to 0-7 on the road and had a two-game winning streak snapped.

"It's tough, it's real tough to go through that," Randolph said. "It's a long season but to play like that, I don't know what to say. But we have a game tomorrow so we have to be ready tomorrow and come out and play hard."

New York shot 30 percent (23-of-76) for the game, was outrebounded, 51-35, and forced just six turnovers. Boston drained 12-of-22 from the arc. "It was a bad game, you know we didn't play well, we just didn't do anything we were supposed to do to try to win the game," said New York guard Stephon Marbury, who was held to four points on 2-of-6 shooting.

"We played horrible, we played horrible, that's the bottom line," Knicks forward Quentin Richardson said. "Taking nothing away from them but at the same time we played horrible."

Eddie House scored 15 points on five 3-pointers and Rajon Rondo added 10 points and six assists for the Celtics, who were coming off a tough 109-104 overtime loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday and had lost two of five after starting the season with nine wins.

"Great win, I thought our guys played with a real sense of purpose," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "The transition game on both ends I thought was the difference for us with the energy of getting the ball up the floor and that's all we talked about today in the shoot-around."

A 3-pointer by Brian Scalabrine gave Boston a 23-18 lead with 2:10 left in the first quarter. The Celtics took a 27-16 into the second stanza and opened it with a 16-2 run, bookended by 3-pointers from House. Glen Davis and Ray Allen each scored five points during the spurt.

"We were up big at halftime, we said it wasn't about the score it was about us going out there and getting better," Pierce said. "You know at one point I didn't even know we were up 40 points. It was about us going out there, executing and getting better because we're looking at this in the long run."

Allen and Pierce drained 3-pointers during the opening run of the third quarter, and Allen added another shot from the arc and a runner on Boston's next possession to forge an 82-37 lead with three minutes remaining in the third.

"Anytime you go up 10, 15 it's somewhat human nature to let your guard down a little bit," Allen said. "Truthfully I never realized when we got up 20, because I didn't want to start relaxing."

Boston pushed the lead to 93-43 early in the fourth quarter - its biggest lead in seven years.

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