THE Boston Celtics got a little boost ahead of the showdown with the titleholders Cleveland Cavaliers, easing to a 110-94 victory over the lowly New York Knicks on Sunday at Madison Square Garden (Monday, Manila time).
It was the Celtics’ second straight win and 50th in 77 outings as they firmly sat on top of the Eastern Conference standings.
Isaiah Thomas and the Celtics next take on the Cavaliers in Boston.
The Cavaliers struggled to get past the Indiana Pacers on Sunday to stay just a game behind the Celtics.
Thomas went 6 for 11 and wound up with 19 points, while Jaylen Brown added 16 on 5 of 6 shooting.
The Knicks, who announced Derrick Rose has a torn cartilage in his left knee and will undergo season-ending surgery, absorbed their seventh loss in the last 10 games.
Courtney Lee scored 16 for the Knicks, who were also without Carmelo Anthony due to a sore lower back.
New York suffered its 48th loss in 77 games.