The Boston Celtics have posted blowouts over weak opponents in their last two home games. In between was an ugly road loss to the best team in the league.
The Celtics hope to take advantage of another non-contender Wednesday night when they meet the New York Knicks before heading out on a difficult road trip.
Boston (42-24) beat Indiana 122-103 on Friday and Detroit 119-93 on Monday. The Celtics, though, fell 104-93 at Cleveland on Sunday.
With a road trip featuring games against Houston, Dallas and Utah starting Friday, the Celtics know they must play better against top teams. They were happy enough with Monday's win in which they shot 62.2 percent after connecting at 40.0 percent against the Cavaliers.
"Yeah, we have been talking and talking, at some point trying to show some actions, so it's just what it is," forward Kevin Garnett said. "I'll take it though. Hands down night and day, as far as yesterday till today."
The Celtics are 32-12 with their regular starting five, which they have had available once in two wins over New York (24-43). The Knicks have been competitive, falling 107-105 in overtime Nov. 22 at Madison Square Garden and 110-106 on Feb. 23 in their sixth straight loss in Boston.
Last month's matchup featured Nate Robinson's Celtics debut against his former team. Robinson, traded from New York on Feb. 18, has been mostly a non-factor for Boston, averaging 7.3 points on 42.1 percent shooting.
Robinson's production is in contrast to another new Celtic guard in Michael Finley, who is shooting 64.3 percent and averaging 8.6 points in five games since being signed March 6. Finley was one of three Celtics to score 15 points Monday as he made 6 of 7 shots.
"He hadn't played a lot this year with San Antonio and he wasn't making shots," coach Doc Rivers told NBA.com. "I just don't believe a guy can forget how to shoot. So we thought if we could get him in here and get him some looks ... they would go in."
Paul Pierce scored 15 in less than 17 minutes, and Rivers believes his leading scorer is getting back to form after missing 10 games due to injury this season.
"It's coming around," Rivers said. "It's still not there, but that was great to see. He looked explosive. I think he's getting closer, and our team's getting closer."
The Knicks are seeking their first three-game road win streak since March 10-13, 2009. They ended Dallas' 13-game run with a 128-94 rout on Saturday and beat Philadelphia 94-84 on Monday.
The victories have coincided with rookie guard Toney Douglas' insertion into the starting lineup. Douglas has averaged 20.5 points and 7.5 assists in the two games.
"The coaches have a lot of confidence in me," Douglas said. "I have confidence in myself. I feel comfortable."
All-Star center David Lee had eight points Monday, ending his streak of scoring in double figures at 47 games. Lee is averaging 20.5 points and 15.8 rebounds in his last four against Boston.