Celtics put a sleeper hold on Knicks, 110-94


NEW YORK -- One of the many nicknames given to New York is that it's the city that never sleeps.
You wouldn't have known that Sunday by the quiet-as-a-library crowd at the TD Garden that bore witness to Boston's dominant performance. Even the fans at Madison Square Garden with the usually-loud thunder sticks were unusually quiet by thunder-stick standards.
Well, give the Celtics some credit.
Unlike their most recent games against bottom-of-the-East clubs like New York, the Celtics certainly didn't sleepwalk over what figured to be an easy pushover.
And because of that, the Celtics had a relatively easy time in leading wire-to-wire in a 110-94 win.
The Celtics (50-27) hit the 50-win plateau for the first time under fourth-year coach Brad Stevens, and for the first time as a franchise since they won 56 games in 2010-11.
Meanwhile, New York (29-48) has five games left before this season is finally over.
For one Knicks player, the season has reportedly already ended. Reports indicate Derrick Rose has a torn meniscus and will be out for the rest of the season.
In addition to Rose, the Knicks were also without Carmelo Anthony (back) and Lance Thomas (hip).
The Celtics are the last team that wants to hear about dealing with injuries and illnesses, not with Boston playing a cut-and-paste lineup most games . . . including Sunday's, with Avery Bradley (stomach flu) still out of the lineup.
His replacement was Jaylen Brown.
The 6-foot-7 rookie was back on the bench about a minute into his starting assignment but soon himself back on the floor and proved to be one of the keys to Boston winning for the sixth time in their last seven games.
And now the Celtics will have a few days to prepare for a Wednesday night matchup against Cleveland in what will be one of the most anticipated games on the schedule, a game that will go far in determining whether Boston or Cleveland will be the top seed in the East this season.

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