Celtics cruise to win

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NEW YORK --- No fantastic finish needed for the Boston Celtics this time.

New York's Carmelo Anthony looks for help as Boston's Paul Pierce (center) and Kevin Garnett apply pressure during the second half. The Celtics rolled to take a 3-0 series lead.   Associated Press
Associated Press
New York's Carmelo Anthony looks for help as Boston's Paul Pierce (center) and Kevin Garnett apply pressure during the second half. The Celtics rolled to take a 3-0 series lead.

They simply spoiled Madison Square Garden's postseason homecoming party right from the start.

Paul Pierce scored 38 points, Ray Allen added 32, and Rajon Rondo had a Celtics' playoff-record 20 assists as Boston beat the New York Knicks 113-96 on Friday night to take a 3-0 in their first-round playoff series.

Rondo had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Celtics, who pulled out two close games in Boston but never trailed in this one, dominating the first playoff game at Madison Square Garden in seven years. They will go for the sweep Sunday afternoon, and no NBA team has ever lost a series after winning the first three games.

After winning the two games in Boston despite trailing in the final half-minute of both, the Celtics scored the first nine points of this one and never really let it get much closer.

Carmelo Anthony had 15 points and 11 rebounds but shot 4 for 16 for the Knicks, who were playing host to a playoff game for the first time in seven years. But the Celtics left the fans little to cheer about, and the Knicks were even booed as they walked off the court trailing by 23 points after three quarters.

Exactly 10 years to the day since their last home playoff victory, the Knicks were outclassed in the same way they have been so many times in their forgettable decade since.

With Chauncey Billups sidelined again with a knee injury, Amare Stoudemire limited by his back spasms and Anthony unable to duplicate his 42-point performance from Game 2, the Knicks lacked the firepower to match the defending Eastern Conference champions.

Stoudemire was just 2 for 8 for seven points.

KINGS: The future of the Sacramento Kings is headed to another overtime.

Kings co-owner Joe Maloof said his family is still deciding whether to move the franchise to Anaheim, and he confirmed that NBA officials will be in Sacramento again next week to further research the city's viability.

Maloof told The Associated Press he's "as anxious as anybody" to find out if Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson can deliver on his promises for more sponsorship support and a new arena.


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