Knicks destroyed by Kyrie Irving-less Celtics

BOSTON — The Celtics played four rookies in the rotation, gave Terry Rozier his first career start as point guard Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart were out of the lineup.

It didn’t matter as the Knicks’ offense was asleep in Beantown as they were still outclassed by the Celtics, in a 103-73 disgrace at TD Garden Thursday.

The 30-point defeat was a spiritless performance on the second night of a back-to-back as the Knicks scored just eight points in the fourth quarter, shot a sickly 32.2 percent overall and got embarrassing offensive production from the starting guards despite the Celtics’ depleted status. Rozier, meanwhile, posted a triple-double (17 points 10 assists, 11 rebounds).

Kristaps Porzingis, who usually is defended by the physical guard Smart, quieted after a fast start. He racked up just 16 points in 34 minutes (7 of 18) and was also a rare victim of a poster dunk. Center Enes Kanter came close to a second straight 20-20, finishing a shade short at 17 and 17.

The Knicks’ three starting guards combined to shoot 4 of 23. Tim Hardaway Jr. put forth his ugliest outing since his return from a stress reaction, scoring four points on 1-of-10 shooting.

Courtney Lee had a quiet seven points (2 of 8) and starting point guard Jarrett Jack notched just two points (1 of 5).

Daniel Theis slams home a dunk over Frank Ntilikina.AP

The Celtics started the fourth quarter on an 18-2 run to go up by 32 points as the Knicks got worse and worse as the night wore on.
Porzingis hit his first two shots, including a 3-pointer, and finished with 13 in the half. But he was also a part of a nasty poster dunk by Boston’s Jaylen Brown.

Brown slashed down the right side, leapt and powered one down on the face of Porzingis. The NBA’s top shotblocker was helpless to stop it. To his credit, Porzingis got one back, blocking a Brown drive in the third period with ease.

But the block didn’t spark the Knicks. Two possessions later, Brown snaked to the hole past Lee for a layup, and after a Beasley brick, Marcus Morris hit from mid-range upping the lead to 76-60 with 2:37 left in the third quarter. At the end of the third, Morris injured himself hanging on the rim after dunking with Beasley clipping him. Morris crashed to the court, staying down for a while, even as play carried on for a moment. Morris suffered a bruised hip and didn’t return, but the Knicks had no fight in the fourth.

The Knicks also got no bench play. Michael Beasley had an off night (12 points) and Doug McDermott continued mired in a slump. After not playing in the first half, McDermott got in late in the third quarter, saw the ball slip from his hands on a shot attempt. He caught it and hurried a missed banker, then committed a foul on the rebound. They trailed by 24 early in the fourth quarter.

Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek didn’t use newly signed point guard Trey Burke until 5:19 left in third quarter trailing by 67-56 and he was ineffective in a 5-minute run.

The Knicks, who scored the game’s first five points, trailed 50-45 at halftime. Brown led the Celtics with 12 points by intermission and wound up with 14 points.

Knicks rookie shooting guard Damyean Dotson, with Ron Baker’s major shoulder injury, came up from the G-League and logged 6:40 in the first half.

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