BOSTON -- It took three minutes for the Celtics to score their first points of the game -- that was the first sign of trouble.
It didn't get any prettier, either.
Boston dropped its fifth straight game, this one in blowout fashion to the Atlantic Division-leading Knicks, 100-85. And it wasn't that close.
After Boston tied the game up at 35-35 with 7:47 left in the second quarter, the Knicks went on a 14-0 run and led by that difference - 58-44 at halftime. That was the second sign of trouble.
And the third and final sign of trouble was the buzzer-beating, 29-foot shot Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith put up - three of his 32 points in the game - to end the third quarter, give the Knicks an 84-69 lead, and put the final nail in the Celtics' coffin.
Boston was without starters Kevin Garnett and Courtney Lee, both out with ankle injuries. While Lee remains more day-to-day, the C's look to be without Garnett for up to two weeks. Garnett's absence was especially felt down low, where the Knicks killed Boston on the offensive glass, and led them in second-chance points through three quarters, 27-4.
Boston was led in scoring and rebounding by Jeff Green, who finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Jordan Crawford added 14 points and six assists in place of Lee.
Smith wasn't the only scorer for New York, as Carmelo Anthony dropped 29 points, but on 10-30 shooting.
What they'll be saying: The C's came out flat on their home turf, and even though they kept up with the Knicks - also flat to start - faded to black before the halftime buzzer even sounded. It's very apparent that while they can get by without Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger, the production begins and ends with Garnett on the court in most cases.
Boston has now lost five games in a row, and didn't really compete with the Knicks for three quarters in this one. Now even more tired, they'll head to Cleveland for a game tomorrow night, where they hope to keep their head above water - which means away from the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference and a first-round date with the historically-red-hot Heat. The C's are just 1.5 games ahead of the Bucks for that 8th seed.