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Seven technical fouls a Garden nuance

NEW YORK (AP) -- In Doc Rivers' mind, the Boston Celtics had this
coming.

He had seen a little too much swagger lately, a little too much
cockiness from a team that had grown a little too pleased with
itself after winning 11 of 12.

The Celtics' run of success ended Wednesday night against a New
York Knicks team that was in no mood to be swept in the season
series and summoned some unusual feistiness while getting that
point across in a 107-82 victory.

In a game that featured seven technical fouls and a flagrant
foul in the first half, the Knicks made one of the NBA's hottest
teams look rather ordinary.

"We were our own worst opponent tonight. We were horrible,"
Rivers said. "I think it's a good lesson for us, and it's only one
loss."

It was just the second loss in 13 games for the Celtics since
they reacquired Antoine Walker, and they looked nothing like the
offensive juggernaut that had surpassed 100 points in six straight
games.

Walker shot just 5-for-20, Paul Pierce was 2-for-5 and Ricky
Davis shot 2-for-10 as the Celtics shot only 38 percent, had their
seven-game winning streak snapped and were held to a season-low
point total.

"They're just a bunch of frontrunners right now," the Knicks'
Tim Thomas said. "Nobody is going to come in here and push us
around."

Jamal Crawford led New York with 21 points, two of them coming
when he passed the ball to himself off the backboard, caught it and
dunked. Trevor Ariza added 14 points, and Thomas and Maurice Taylor
had 13 apiece.

The Knicks won for the third time in four games, keeping their
slim playoff hopes alive. A big test begins Friday as New York
travels to Seattle to start a four-game road trip, playing its
fourth straight game against a division leader. New York remained
in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, 3½ games behind
eighth-place Philadelphia.

Boston had its most lopsided loss of the season.

"We came out running our mouths and acted like a low-class
basketball team. We didn't show them any respect," said Rivers,
who noticed an unhealthy increase in his team's trash-talking
during a road victory at Houston five nights earlier. "That was a
team excited about a winning streak and not acting like a winning
team.

"I should have done a better job of stopping it earlier."

The Celtics had won their previous three meetings with New York
by an average of almost 19 points, but it became clear early on
that the Knicks seemed to resent those beatings.

Crawford and Davis picked up double technical fouls for yelling
at each other less than two minutes into the game, and Pierce and
Thomas received double technicals moments later after another brief
verbal spat.

"He was running his mouth. Don't talk it if you can't back it
up," Thomas said. "It's not even MTV, and he got punked."

With the game less than 3 minutes old, Raef LaFrentz was
assessed a flagrant foul for taking too big of a swipe at Michael
Sweetney.

New York led by as many as nine in the first quarter, let Boston
get back within two points midway through the second quarter, then
used a 19-1 run to take a 54-34 lead. Jerome Williams and Maurice
Taylor ended the run with dunks, Williams hanging and swinging from
the rim after his.

The Celtics got their deficit down to nine points with 2:28 left
in the third quarter, but the Knicks closed the period with a 9-1
run and then stayed comfortably ahead throughout the fourth
quarter.

"They got us all riled up in the first quarter, and it's best
to let a sleeping dog lie," Williams said. "They woke me and a
lot of my teammates up."

Game notes
The Knicks played their second straight game without center
Kurt Thomas, who was hospitalized for two days after he developed a
fever from an infected elbow. He said he was hopeful of playing
Friday at Seattle. ... Boston's five-game road winning streak came
to an end. ... Pierce declined to speak to the media before the
game, although he did find the time to break up an interview Tony
Allen was doing with an ESPN crew.