Brought in to revive the sagging Celtics after their second consecutive playoff absence, Garnett had 13 points and eight rebounds, and Allen scored 14 points before sitting out the fourth quarter. The New Big Three had seven points apiece in the first quarter as Boston opened a double-digit lead.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers pretended to be taken aback when he
found the full, regular-season complement of reporters waiting to
talk to him outside the locker room before the game.
"What are all you guys here for?" he asked with mock surprise.
"It's an exhibition game, guys."
But the coach admitted that the excitement might even be
creeping into the locker room.
"I don't know about tonight, but I hope there's excitement,"
Rivers said. "There should be."
Zach Randolph had nine points and 12 rebounds for New York, and Stephon Marbury scored nine for the Knicks, who did not have a player score in double figures. Allan Houston, attempting a comeback after two years off, missed his only shot while playing six minutes.
A 10-time All-Star acquired in an unprecedented 7-for-1 trade over the summer, Garnett teamed with second-year point guard Rajon Rondo for the former NBA MVP's first highlight in Boston. Taking an entry pass under the basket, Garnett dished it behind his back to Rondo for the layup.
The basket gave the Celtics a 7-5 lead three minutes into the game, and they never trailed again.