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NBA Playoffs: Celtics 113, Knicks 96: Celtics' Stars Show Up, Knicks' Don't As Celtics Take 3-0 Lead

New York Knicks fans have been waiting 10 years for a playoff victory.

Keep waiting.

The Boston Celtics’ stars badly outplayed the Knicks’ as Boston opened up a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven series and have put the Knicks on the brink. Rajon Rondo had a triple double, and Ray Allen and Paul Pierce had lights out nights as the Celtics defeated the Knicks, 113-96.

The Madison Square Garden crowd that was so fired up for playoff basketball was quieted instantly, as the Celtics defended like hell and jumped out to a 22-5 lead. Thanks to the play of their bench, including offense provided by Bill Walker and Shawne Williams, the Knicks were able to cut into the Celtics lead. Still, the first half was owned by the Celtics, with their stars stepping up. While Carmelo Anthony had just 12 points in the first half and Amare Stoudemire was essentially invisible, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett all enjoyed good openings to the game. Pierce took the first quarter, and Allen’s deadly three-point shooting continued, bedeviling the Knicks defense throughout the first 24 minutes.

And that was really it. Because the third quarter belonged completely to the Celtics, who played with the Knicks and led by 23 heading into the fourth quarter. The Knicks simply didn’t show up in Game 3, and for a team lacking in talent, they had zero chance.

Let’s face it. In any sport when you’re trying to pull an upset, you really need to be completely healthy. This series ended when Chauncey Billups got hurt in Game 1. Even if Anthony’s Game 2 heroics got the Knicks a win, without Billups and an effective Stoudemire, the Knicks had no chance. The Knicks simply aren’t talented enough for this time of year, especially with two of their top three players hurt. Without Billups and Stoudemire (who essentially was useless in Game 3), the Knicks sorely lack talent. When a team like the Celtics played as well as it did tonight, a team with the likes of Walker, Williams, Jared Jeffries and Roger Mason simply has no chance. The only reason the Knicks had a prayer in Game 2 was because of Anthony, and he was nowhere near his Game 2 level tonight.

Knicks fans have been waiting 10 years for a playoff victory. It looks like they’ll have to wait until 2012 for the next one.