NEW YORK — This one was so easy for the New York 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.”
New York is only a half-game out of the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot despite its 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 6 of 7. 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.
“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).
New York 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 four minutes into the game.