Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/2

Game 1: Saturday, November 2nd
Game 2: Friday, December 6th
Game 3: Saturday, December 14th
Game 4: Wednesday, March 5th

Celtics 113

(16-7, 6-3 away)

Knicks 90

(7-14, 5-8 home)

    Coverage: MSG

    7:30 PM ET, December 14, 2002

    Madison Square Garden, New York, NY

    1 2 3 4 T
    BOS 26 26 31 30113
    NY 20 24 16 3090

    Top Performers

    Boston: P. Pierce 29 Pts, 10 Reb, 1 Ast, 3 Stl

    New York: A. Houston 24 Pts, 7 Reb, 8 Ast, 1 Stl

    Pierce scores 15 of his 29 in third quarter

    NEW YORK (AP) -- The Boston Celtics still remember the days when they used to lose regularly to the New York Knicks, but those memories are fading with age.

    Paul Pierce

    Paul Pierce scored 15 of his 29 points in the third quarter, when the Celts pulled away.

    Paul Pierce had 29 points and 10 rebounds as the Celtics beat the Knicks for the seventh straight time, 113-90 Saturday night.

    "They beat us up so bad in years past, it's time to get our turn,'' Antoine Walker said with a smile. "I think we match up well with the Knicks. And it seems like Paul always has a good game in this building.''

    Walker added 23 points and Vin Baker had 16 for the Celtics, who dropped 21 straight to the Knicks from 1993 to 1998 but swept New York last season and are 3-0 against them this season.

    Allan Houston had 24 points for the Knicks, who had won two straight but shot just 38 percent.

    After Boston let a 17-point lead slip to one in a win over Cleveland on Friday night, the Celtics took advantage of the Knicks' poor shooting in the third quarter and continued to pound New York in the fourth.

    "Usually when we get big leads, we tend to slack off and let the teams back in the game,'' Pierce said. "Today we kept the squeeze on them. It's good for us.''

    Pierce unloaded on the Knicks to start the second half, scoring 12 straight points and capping the run with a fadeaway baseline jumper that forced New York to call a timeout down 64-46.

    ''(Pierce) really put them away with a barrage of points,'' Boston coach Jim O'Brien said. "Guys were talking about getting a lead and extending the lead. Having guys talk like that makes my job a lot easier.''

    During the timeout, Walker shouted at the Celtics "not to loosen up this time,'' and Pierce slammed his hand down on the scorer's table as both teams took the floor.

    "We have to get to the mentality where we continue to do the little things that got us that lead,'' Walker said. "Basically, we have to put our feet on people's toes.''

    The Knicks never got closer than 12 points the rest of the way. Baker had a dunk and a layup and Walker hit a 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter to put the Celtics up 83-60.

    Baker had what O'Brien called "his best game as a Celtic'' since arriving in a trade with Seattle. The forward hit six of eight shots, made all four of his free throws and grabbed six rebounds in 22 minutes.

    "I'm not going to be held down for the whole season, that's for sure,'' Baker said.

    The Knicks, coming off a 97-92 win over Miami Friday night, hit only 20 of their first 62 shots through three quarters, and hardly dented the deficit with similar shooting in the fourth quarter.

    "I thought fatigue set in,'' New York coach Don Chaney said. "We just didn't have the energy we had last night. Against Boston, you have to have energy.''

    The Celtics poured it on, as Tony Delk hit a pair of 3-pointers and Walter McCarty and Bruno Sundov each had one to keep the lead over 20 points.

    While the Celtics started the game hitting 11 of their first 19 shots, the Knicks took turns missing layups and taking 3-pointers. New York hit seven of 13 from beyond the arc in the first half, but hit only nine of 31 from the rest of the floor.

    Walker scored 15 points in the first half, including a nice crossover move that left Clarence Weatherspoon behind, and had a slick no-look pass to Eric Williams to give Boston a 46-37 lead.

    Pierce left the game at the end of the first quarter when he tweaked his knee, but returned minutes later and played the whole game. "I just tweaked my knee a bit,'' he said. "My knee is kind of loose right now -- I think it popped it back into place.

    "It felt good in the third quarter.''

    Game notes

    The Celtics defeated the Knicks 19 straight times from Nov. 20, 1965 to March 19, 1967. ... Houston tied a career high with eight assists. ... Pierce scored 46 points the first time the Celtics beat the Knicks in New York this season. ... Pierce again played with a mouthpiece, the result of a collision with Phoenix Suns' rookie Amare Stoudemire on Tuesday.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 113 90
    FGM-FGA 42-73 (.575) 29-75 (.387)
    3PM-3PA 10-19 (.526) 9-21 (.429)
    FTM-FTA 19-24 (.792) 23-27 (.852)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 4-37 11-38
    Assists 20 22
    Turnovers 12 17
    Steals 14 5
    Blocks 2 1
    Fast Break Points 1 2
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (4/0) 18 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    New York
    Paul Pierce Pierce
    Points: 29
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0
    Allan Houston Houston
    Points: 24
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 8
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0