Celtics 82, Knicks 37 (2:44 remaining, 3rd quarter)

Even Bill Belichick thought Doc Rivers should’ve given his starters the rest of the night off.

Only a person unfamiliar with the recent fortunes of these two teams would be surprised by the likely result, but the abject lack of effort on the part of the visitors is nothing short of mind blowing. Even during the most brutal moments of John MacLeod or Stu Jackson’s tenures did we didn’t witness a Knicks squad so throughly outclassed, but never in my lifetime have I seen a professional team trailing by 30 more with nearly a half to be played, that completely gave up trying for rebounds, fighting for loose balls or showing even the smallest bit of pride in their alleged craft.

For all the abuse Rivers has received in the past, I’ll say this much ; the C’s are running away from New York like Secretariat at Belmont, and the likes of Glen Davis and Eddie House are still throwing themselves all over the floor. The Big 3 are most assuredly All-Universe, but Boston’s bench would run rings around Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry most nights.

I am wondering, however, just how big the Celtics’ margin has to be for Scot Pollard to remove his warm-ups. If ever there was a time for Pollard to come up with a cheap double-double, this had to be it.

There’s no shame in being beaten, thumped even, by what is arguably the best team in the NBA. But for Isiah Thomas’ charges to not even show up for a nationally televised game against this historic rival is mortifying. And it oughta bug the hell out of Celtics fans who purchased tickets for a game featuring an opponent other than the Washington Generals.

(UPDATE : Celtics 104, Knicks 59. Only via a Nate Robinson three-pointer at the buzzer — after Boston allowed an intentional 24-second violation to turn the ball over — spared New York their lowest point total in franchise history. Postgame, Kevin Garnett acknowledged Quentin Richardson’s tough talk, and yeah, were it not for Q running his mouth, Boston might’ve only won by 40).