Final: Celtics 112, Knicks 12. Who needs seven key rotation players? The Celtics have finished a blowout win over the Knicks without them, and they improve to 4-0 this season against their first-round playoff foe. They finish the regular season 56-26.
Six guys finish in double figures for the Celtics, which is impressive given they only had eight guys total. Avery Bradley leads the way with 20 points off the bench.
Landry Fields leads the Knicks with 16, plus seven rebounds.
Let's do this again, folks. The Celtics and Knicks are due for a rematch Sunday night, as they butt heads in round one, Game 1 of the playoffs. Tipoff for the second season is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday at the TD Garden.
Fourth quarter, 2:50, Celtics 110-94: OK, time to start looking past this one. The Celtics are up 16, the music's blasting, the fans are dancing, and the schedule for round one of the playoff is up on the Jumbotron screen.
The Celtics will be at home Sunday and Tuesday to open the series, then at New York Friday and Sunday for Games 3 and 4.
Get ready, folks. This is gonna be fun.
Fourth quarter, 5:49, Celtics 102-88: Troy Murphy drills a 3, pushing the Boston lead from 11 to 14. It might be time for the Knicks to wave the surrender flag.
And no, by "the surrender flag," I don't mean Reynaldo Balkman. Although that's not a bad idea.
Fourth quarter, 6:24, Celtics 99-88: Jeff Green checks out. He's played 35 minutes already — I'd say there's a good chance he's done for the night.
Green has contributed 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists to the Celtics' cause. Not a bad 35 minutes of work.
Fourth quarter, 8:46, Celtics 92-84: The Knicks are now scoreless in their last 3:25. The C's reserves have clamped down defensively.
When you want to make the playoff roster, you have to do it the Celtic way. Unselfishness, hard work, team defense. Forget about the numbers.
These guys are getting it. It's a thrill to watch.
Fourth quarter, 9:24, Celtics 92-84: Von Wafer just picked off a bad pass in transition, took off down the floor, and drove the lane for a nice one-handed floating layup.
That guy wants to make the playoff roster, people.
Wafer now has 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting. The Celtics are on a 6-0 run to open the fourth quarter.
End of third quarter, Celtics 86-84: Both teams are already in the mid-eighties, but there's still a whole lot of ballgame left. Only in Game 82 against the Knicks.
Glen Davis now has 17 points, Sasha Pavlovic has 14, Nenad Krstic has 13, Jeff Green and Avery Bradley each have 12, and Von Wafer has 10.
You got all that?
Amare Stoudemire leads the Knicks with 14. They're putting up a fight against the Celtics, shorthanded though they may be.
Third quarter, 2:49, Celtics 84-74: This just in — the defense is even worse in an irrelevant Knicks game than in a relevant one.
The Celtics are shooting 60.3 percent from the field. They've got six guys in double figures already. They may crack the century mark early in the fourth quarter.
If you're hoping every playoff game will be like this, don't hold your breath. But for the moment, this is fun to watch.
Third quarter, 4:58, Celtics 79-70: Carlos Arroyo just threw up a halfcourt shot for no reason after a timeout was called.
It went in.
That might be the loudest the TD Garden has gotten all night.
The golden rule of game 82: You've gotta entertain yourself in creative ways. Nice shot, Carlos.
Third quarter, 6:55, Celtics 72-65: Sasha Pavlovic knocks down a 3 in the corner, but then Bill Walker takes a little poke at him. A minor shoving match breaks out.
It's a flagrant on Walker, and a technical on Pavlovic for pushing him back. Not really a copout call in this case — it looks like the correct ruling. Both guys are at fault here.
What a silly thing to fight over. Have these guys forgotten that this game is still irrelevant?
Third quarter, 7:49, Celtics 67-65: Amare Stoudemire is back on the floor, and the Knicks are making their push.
The Celtics' reserved have worked hard all night, though, and they're definitely holding their own.
It would be quite a statement if the Celtics won this game without seven key players.
Third quarter, 10:20, Celtics 65-57: Solid start to the second half for the Celtics, who go on a 4-0 run to open. Glen Davis and Nenad Krstic have each scored once.
Shaq or no Shaq, that is a very potent front line for this second unit. Look out, Knicks.
Halftime, Celtics 61-57: Which does this remind you of more – a preseason game, or an All-Star Game?
It's got to be one of the two, right? All the tell-tale signs are there — everyone's jacking up shots, no one's bothering to play D, and both coaches are emptying their benches without a care in the world.
The Celtics are shooting 59.5 percent from the field. Even against the Knicks, that's pretty impressive.
Avery Bradley leads the way for the C's with 12 points; Glen Davis and Sasha Pavlovic each add 10. That's normal, right?
The Knicks' leading scorer is Landry Fields, who has nine points and has shot 3-of-4.
If you care who wins, then this will be an interesting second half. And if you don't, then come back anyway. You can watch some guys throw a bunch of shots up. Always fun.
Second quarter, 2:15, 55-55: Sasha Pavlovic just joined Avery Bradley as the second Celtic in double figures. He's got 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting, including 2-for-2 from long range.
Seriously. How awesome is Game 82?
Second quarter, 4:15, Celtics 51-45: Sasha Pavlovic just drove into the paint, spun, got to the basket, and dished to Nenad Krstic for a layup. Krstic gets fouled.
The big Serbian gets to the line and makes two shots.
The little Serbian deserves a lot of credit for that.
Those two guys play together very, very well. They're best friends off the court, and they're a nice duo on it.
Second quarter, 6:08, Celtics 45-41: Avery Bradley now leads all scorers with 12 points. He's shooting 6-of-8 from the field.
Bradley's showing the whole package. He's quick, he's fearless, he works hard to create his own shot. He's also the most tenacious defender on the Celtics' roster, hands down.
The kid can play. It's nice to see him getting his chance.
Second quarter, 8:21, Celtics 40-36: Sasha Pavlovic just stepped up and drilled a 3 from the wing. He's now got five points on just two shot attempts. He's finding some confidence, too.
A big game tonight might be Sasha's ticket to a 12th-man gig on Doc Rivers' postseason roster. So he wants to play well, but he doesn't want to do too much and embarrrass himelf. There's a fine line there.
Second quarter, 10:37, Knicks 33-31: Glen Davis checks back into the ballgame, replacing Von Wafer. Oh well. So much for Wafer's hopes of playing all 48 minutes.
Those hopes are still alive for Jeff Green, though. Green has six points and five rebounds, and he's played every second so far.
That's the real purpose of tonight for the Celtics — let the young guys gain some confidence. Win or lose, things are going swimmingly in that department.
End of first quarter, Knicks 28-27: There's nothing quite like 48 full minutes of garbage time, is there?
The Celtics get eight points each from Von Wafer and Avery Bradley, two guys who may very well be cut from the 12-man roster before the postseason. Only in Game 82. Bradley has gone off and shot 4-for-4, Wafer has drained two 3s, and the C's are rolling offensively.
Meanwhile, Amare Stoudemire has eight points for the Knicks as well.
The Knicks have a one-point lead, as if that matters.
First quarter, 2:33, Celtics 19-18: Avery Bradley has entered the ballgame, and he's playing like a maniac. He's already got six points on 3-of-3 shooting. He's using his speed and athleticism to dominate in the paint, getting good looks at will.
The future is bright for the Celtics, and Bradley is a big reason why. He's probably the most underrated player on this team. He could play 20 minutes a night and be successful, but with this roster, he doesn't have to.
Someday, he's going to be a very, very good player.
First quarter, 5:29, 13-13: Amare Stoudemire is playing despite a tweaked ankle. He's taking a risk — but hey, it's paying off so far.
STAT has four points, two rebounds and one assist already. He's carrying the Knicks while their other two stars (Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups) watch from the bench.
Don't expect him to play too many minutes, though. He's got to rest up for the playoffs.
First quarter, 9:18, Celtics 6-2: Jeff Green just went up for an alley-oop off a Glen Davis lob, threw it down, and then bounced the ball off his own head in midair. It looked like he made the dunk, but the refs said no basket.
What a bizarre play.
At least he had the athleticism to make the dunk in the first place. That was a heck of a leap.
First quarter, 11:09, Celtics 3-0: Eager to get redemption for Monday night's debacle in Washington, Von Wader opens the ballgame by jacking up a 3. He nails it.
Von with a lot of minutes and a lot of shots is a total wild card. He might go off for 30; he might shoot 4-of-21.
So far, he's off to a good start.
7:45 p.m.: Doc Rivers was asked pregame for a preliminary body count, and he got right to the point. "No Delonte, no J.O., no Kevin, no Ray, no Paul, no Shaq, no Rondo," he said.
The Celtics will be playing with an eight-man roster in their season finale. It's probably just as well — the last thing they need at this point is to risk another injury.
The Knicks are taking the opposite approach. They're going to push Amare Stoudemire out there to play a few minutes despite his tweaked ankle. We'll see how that goes.
6:15 p.m.: Welcome to the TD Garden where, truth be told, we're probably in for a fairly anticlimactic Game 82 of the Celtics' regular season.
The dust has settled, the seeds are set, and the Celtics know their fate. They're opening the playoffs on Sunday night as the No. 3 seed, taking on the No. 6 Knicks.
This one is a preview, but not really. Expect both teams to rest plenty of key guys in this irrelevant contest.
8 a.m.: The Celtics and Knicks will meet at least five times in the coming weeks, starting on Wednesday night at the TD Garden. This weekend, they open a best-of-seven playoff series in the East's first round, but first, they close the regular season Wednesday. Just call it Game 0.
Then again, this meeting will be significantly different than the next one. With the season coming to a close and the playoff seeds in the East already set, both teams will take this opportunity to rest their starters and let them freshen up for the postseason.
Doc Rivers sat Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo down for the season's penultimate game, at Washington on Monday night. Unsurprisingly, the C's faltered without their four best players, squandering a late six-point lead and eventually losing in overtime, 95-94.
Rivers is likely to sit all four guys again. He also won't be using Shaquille O'Neal, who's still on the mend from a strained calf muscle and won't play before Game 1 this weekend. All five starters will be watching from the bench — or in Shaq's case, perhaps his couch back home in Sudbury — as the C's attempt to finish their season 56-26.
The Knicks will also be shorthanded, it appears. Amare Stoudemire has a sprained ankle and is likely to rest it in game 82.
The Celtics and Knicks have a long history of playoff clashes, and they're about to continue that history this weekend. But until then, we'll have to settle for 48 minutes of garbage time as Celtics' bench guys slog their way through one more regular-season ballgame.
The Celtics and Knicks tip off at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the TD Garden.