This one was so easy for the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony only needed to play 28 minutes.
That left plenty of energy for pitching books and swatting away free agency questions.
Anthony had 24 points and nine rebounds, and the Knicks avenged an embarrassing home loss with a rout of their own, beating the Boston Celtics 114-88 on Wednesday night for their third straight victory.
Jeremy Tyler added a career-high 17 points and fellow reserve J.R. Smith also scored 17 for the Knicks, who lost by 41 the last time the Celtics came to Madison Square Garden but led this one by 35.
“Today’s game in particular, it was kind of personal, you know what I’m saying, the way they beat us the last time we played them,” forward Kenyon Martin said. “So we wanted a little get-back.”
Anthony, who leads the NBA in minutes per game with 39.2, was quick on his feet after the game, easily handling a question about his relationship with Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau (he said he doesn’t have one) and one about comments made by his wife, actress La La Anthony, who has a new book out called “The Love Playbook” and said in a TV interview that she “definitely” thinks he will re-sign with the Knicks.
“That’s my wife. I support her, I support what she said,” Anthony said. “I don’t think she said anything wrong. It’s a good thing for her to say that. Go get the book though, your wives and girlfriends will enjoy the book.”
The Knicks evened their record at 3-3 on its eight-game homestand, with games remaining against Cleveland on Thursday and Miami on Saturday.
The Knicks are headed in the right direction again since ending a five-game losing streak Friday behind Anthony’s 62 points, and are only a half-game out of the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot despite an 18-27 record.
“You’re going to have ups and downs throughout the season,” center Tyson Chandler said. “The thing is when you have those lulls you’ve got to be able to bounce back, and we’ve done that.”
Jeff Green scored 14 points on 4-of-13 shooting for the Celtics, who have lost three straight and six of seven. Rajon Rondo had seven points and five assists, shooting 3 of 13 in his sixth game of the season after returning from a torn ACL.
“It was a good old-fashioned butt kicking,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.
After finishing up their Super Bowl media day duties, the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson and Golden Tate, and Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker of Denver were part of the sellout crowd of 19,812.
Hopefully their game Sunday will be better than this clunker.
Boston jumped to a 12-0 lead in its 114-73 victory here on Dec. 8, when it handed the Knicks their worst home loss in 11 years. But it never really got much better this season for the Celtics, who led the Atlantic Division at 10-12 after that victory but are 5-20 since.
“We didn’t take anything away tonight,” Rondo said. “We pretty much gave them everything they wanted. They took away stuff from us but we didn’t take anything away from those guys.”
The Knicks jumped to a 21-5 lead helped by the Celtics’ lack of execution (they missed 11 of their first 13 shots) and effort (6-foot-1 Raymond Felton grabbed an offensive rebound under the basket without even having to jump on one possession).
The Knicks led 31-15 after one and opened a 45-20 bulge when Chandler threw down an alley-oop pass from Smith midway through the second. The Celtics scored 11 straight to cut it to 14, but the Knicks outscored them 18-6 the remainder of the half to take a 63-37 lead.
The Knicks overcame the loss of Iman Shumpert to a sprained right shoulder just over 4 minutes into the game. Martin left with a sprained left ankle in his first game after missing five games with the same injury, though the team said he was available to return.
The Knicks also announced at halftime that reserve guard Beno Udrih was unavailable because of illness, but everyone else who was active scored. That included Metta World Peace, who played for the first time in a month after having a procedure on his left knee and made a 3-pointer.
Notes: Jerryd Bayless was back for Boston after missing four games with a sprained left big toe. … Chris Johnson scored 12 points for the Celtics on the day he was signed to a second 10-day contract. … There was a moment of silence before the game for Hall of Famer Tom Gola, an All-Star with the Knicks in the 1960s who died Sunday.