BOSTON (AP) — The recently reshuffled Boston Celtics hadn’t practiced lately and it showed early in Wednesday’s game against the New York Knicks.
Midway through the third quarter, the Celtics got in sync and turned a six-point deficit into a 115-94 rout of the reeling Knicks.
“We just kept rocking,” said Evan Turner, who had his first career triple-double with 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. “We made a lot of great plays to start that fourth quarter as a team. We got the energy going.”
Boston’s top three scorers were all picked up in trades over the past few months. Isaiah Thomas scored 19, hitting all 11 of his foul shots, and Jonas Jerebko had 20 points as both played their first home games as members of the Celtics. Jae Crowder, acquired from Dallas in the Rajon Rondo deal on Dec. 18, finished with 18 points.
“We’ve got a lot of talented guys,” Thomas said. “Coach’s offensive system is freedom for everybody and he wants everybody to have confidence and attack.”
Boston hit 14 3-pointers, including eight in the fourth quarter to put away the Knicks and extend New York’s losing streak to eight.
Coach Brad Stevens said he’s still learning what he has with the recent additions, but was impressed with what Boston accomplished with a smaller lineup.
“We’re just throwing darts,” Stevens said. “Like today — we found a lineup that nobody would ever thought would play together right in an NBA game.”
The Celtics outscored the Knicks 35-22 in the final period and 77-45 in the second half.
Andrea Bargnani led New York with 17 points. Lou Amundson, Jason Smith and Langston Galloway scored 14 points each for the Knicks.
Amundson gave the Knicks a 68-62 edge midway through the third quarter, tying their largest lead of the game, then New York’s offense stalled and never recovered as the Celtics starting hitting from outside.
“It was really those last couple minutes that got away from us,” coach Derek Fisher said.
Boston scored the last nine points of the third quarter and first 11 of the fourth.
The Celtics closed the third quarter on a 16-3 run, scoring the last nine points of the period and taking an 80-72 lead into the fourth. Smart opened the fourth with back-to-back 3-pointers and New York called timeout trailing 86-72.
The delay did nothing to spark the Knicks or slow down the Celtics, who added another 3-pointer by Crowder and two free throws by Jerebko for a 91-72 lead.
“We were going back and forth pretty much the whole third quarter and they had a few big shots down the stretch,” Galloway said. “They separated a little bit going into the fourth and they just kept it going and hitting a lot of big shots.”
Amundson ended New York’s drought on a jumper with 9:03 left to play. It was the first points for the Knicks since Bargnani’s jumper with 2:59 left in the third put New York up for the last time at 72-71.
Knicks: Tim Hardaway Jr. started at forward for Cleanthony Early (ankle), who was still available and came off the bench. G Shane Larkin (illness) and F Lance Thomas (groin) did not play. First-year coach Derek Fisher and the Knicks have been stuck on 10 wins since beating the Los Angeles Lakers 92-80 on Feb. 1. After shooting 52 percent in the first quarter, the Knicks were just 5 for 19 in the second.
Celtics: F Kelly Olynyk missed his 15th straight game with a sprained right ankle. Coach Brad Stevens said Olynyk should be ready to return within a week. … Thomas, Luigi Datome and Jerebko played their first home games with the Celtics.
The Celtics improved to 6-4 in February, guaranteeing their first winning record in a month since going 1-0 in October.
“We’ve got a long way to go still but the vibe is good,” Stevens said. “The desire to share the ball is very good and the aggressiveness has been unquestioned for me for a few weeks now.”
Jerebko played the entire fourth quarter, moving over a spot from forward to center, and scored 10 in the final period as the Knicks couldn’t keep up with Boston’s smaller lineup.
“We couldn’t adjust to what was going on with them going smaller,” Galloway said. “They just kept hitting some big shots and it didn’t go our way.”
Knicks: Visit Detroit on Friday.
Celtics: Host Charlotte on Friday.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.