The Boston Celtics lead the New York Knicks 3-0 in their first round playoff series. Game 4 is Sunday afternoon in New York. InsideHoops.com presents raw, totally unedited game notes taken live from Madison Square Garden as the action happens.

STARTERS

rajon rondo

The Celtics started their usual: Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen at guard, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett at forward, and Jermaine O’Neal at center.

The Knicks started Toney Douglas and Landry Fields at guard, Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire at forward, and Ronny Turiaf at center. Guard Chauncey Billups remains out.

FIRST QUARTER

The Knicks are moving the ball better as a team than they did in Game 3, and keeping it close early. Fans to not have to exit the arena at this time.

At 7:11, Amar’e Stoudemire cleaned up a missed Carmelo Anthony jumper, went up for a shot and drew the second found on Kevin Garnett, and after a trip to the line tied the game at 11 all.

In for the Knicks at 5:32 with the Celtics up 15-13 is Jared Jeffries and Bill Walker, who quickly shot and missed a three up top.

A nice sight for New York at 4:38: Stoudemire had the ball, Melo cut, and Stoudemire hit him for a layup.

Rondo is again off to a fast start for the Celtics with five points and two assists.

A perfect pick from Ray Allen helped open a driving Paul Pierce for a layup that put Boston up 21-15 at 3:40.

Nenad Krstic is in for Boston and at 2:20, as he slide towards the rim found the ball in his hands compliments of a Pierce dish and flushed down a dunk.

Melo has 10 points and no assists on eight shots. Rondo leads Boston with five points and four assists.

The Knicks have started the game shooting 7-of-24.

Rondo is basically unguarded. Every Knick backs off him, even as Rondo has the ball a mere 2-3 feet above the free throw line, as he did just now before swishing a jumper.

End of first quarter: Celtics 29, Knicks 23. New York shot just 8-of-27 in the quarter. Melo had 15 points on nine shots. No other Knick had more than three points. The Celtics got nine points and five assists from Rondo, and four points from four different players.

SECOND QUARTER

Zach Galifianakis is in the building. I tried to spell-check his name but Google said it was too long to bother with.

The Celtics continue to execute, and at 9:10 lead 33-25. They are a balanced offensive squad, and the Knicks are not.

Glen Davis is big off the bench for the Celtics tonight, both literally and in basketball contributions.

Brian Baumgartner, the mostly-bald guy from The Office, is here.

At 7:12 Landry Fields on a fast break was fouled somewhat hard from behind by Delonte West, who was then shoved by a protective Stoudemire, prompting a loud “Boston sucks!” chant from the MSG crowd. Refs called a foul and a tech on West, and a tech on Melo. As usual, the refs toss out more techs than are needed, promoting a “These refs suck!” chant which only lasted maybe 10 seconds but was still pretty loud.

West penetrates and dishes nicely to an open Pierce in three-point range, who then quickly dishes to an open Ray Allen, who swishes a three. And then next play, West, guarded again by Toney Douglas, pops a fadeaway jumper to put the Celtics up 42-28 at 5:58.

A Glen Davis fast break (!) bucket puts the Celtics up 46-31 with around 5 minutes left. Things are starting to slip away for the Knicks who continue to rely almost entirely on Melo. Stoudemire is still not himself due to a back issue and is 0-of-7 for three points and six rebounds. Davis now has 12 points on great shooting.

It’s ugly for the Knicks again. A Rondo layup makes it 50-33 Celtics with 2:15 left. The MSG crowd has little to get pumped up about, aside perhaps from the knowledge that it’s a nice Sunday afternoon to enjoy Manhattan after they exit the game later.

End of second quarter: Celtics 55, Knicks 38. The Knicks are 11-of-47 and just 2-of-11 from three-point range. Stoudemire is 1-of-10. This is a mess.

THIRD QUARTER

This is a mess. The start of the third quarter continued the pattern of the first half, and with 5:37 left the Celtics.

The Celtics are slowing down. The game isn’t out of reach for New York just yet.

Life for the Knicks has been found! Midway through the third quarter, Melo found himself open on two separate occasions for uncontested fast break dunks, cutting the Celtics lead to 14 at 4:50, giving fans some rare optimism.

Pierce’s first step, which never looks particularly quick, continues to get him past defenders when he needs to get at the rim. But he’s missing shot after shot.

Nice evening by Garnett so far, with 18 points and nine rebounds. Rondo has 16 with nine assists. Ray Allen has been contained.

The Knicks are fighting, and it feels like a game again, but just when it might get scary for Boston they always execute, and with 1:36 left in the quarter still have a 12-point lead. Not much, but with their veteran experience it’s enough.

Even more life for New York after Shawne Williams, who is shooting so many bricks he’s built a house behind Spike Lee, hits a three that cuts it to 10.

End of third quarter: Celtics 82, Knicks 72. Melo has 27 and seven rebounds. New York is shooting just 32.9%. Stoudemire is 3-of-15. That it’s this close is a near miracle for the blue and orange.

FOURTH QUARTER

Stoudemire starts the quarter with a layup that cuts it to eight. Finally, for the first time since Game 2, this feels competitive!

Roger Mason is missing some open outside looks. But at 10:20 a Melo three cut it to six, causing fans to go bananas.

Anthony Carter, known for having no shooting range, hits from outside to keep NY alive.

At 6:40 the Celtics show why they tend to win, using crafty away-from-ball movement that led to Rondo getting a wide open layup in a halfcourt set.

The crowd is excited, so naturally that means it’s time for a Ray Allen three.

Anthony Carter again hits from deep, in two-point range from the left corner. An unlikely source of sudden offense, he’s 5-of-6 for 11 points off the bench.

Fields hasn’t been playing at all this half for the Knicks.

Again, Celtics smarts come into play. Positioning himself perfectly, Pierce took a charge from Shawne Williams, negating a basket that would have cut Boston’s lead to four. At 5:07 it’s Celtics up, 91-85.

The Knicks just let Rondo shoot from wherever he wants, even if he’s open from the free throw line. A Rondo 15-footer followed by a Garnett bucket puts Boston back up 10.

The crowd has been loud, but there haven’t been many actual chants, aside from “defense!”

And here it is. With 2:03 left and Boston up nine, Garnett caught a pass and had an open look from the left elbow. As he pulls up to shoot, I had no doubt whatsoever that it would go in. Swish. Nothing but net. KG’s not missing that at this point in the game, in the postseason. Boston goes up 97-86. Timeout. And right now at 6:12 p.m. ET, some fans start to leave for dinner, exiting MSG for the last time until next season.

Yeah. It’s over. With 39 seconds left and the Celtics up 10, fans flock for the exits as the clock ticks down on the Knicks season, which was certainly a success by recent standards.

As the final seconds expire, the MSG crowd stands up and claps their appreciation for a fun season.

Final score: Celtics 101, Knicks 89.

FINAL STATS

In the win, the Celtics shot 49.4%, 3-of-12 three-pointers, and 18-of-24 free throws. Garnett had 26 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. Rondo on 8-of-12 shooting had 21 points, five rebounds and 12 assists (six turnovers). Ray Allen and Glen Davis each scored 14. Pierce shot just 5-of-18 for 13 points, five rebounds and three steals.

In the loss, the Knicks shot just 34.1% and 8-of-27 from three-point range, with 21-of-28 free throws. Melo scored 32 on 24 shots, with nine rebounds. Stoudemire shot a miserable 5-of-20, with 9-of-12 free throws for 19 points and 12 rebounds. Anthony Carter shot well for 11 off the bench. Other Knicks scored six or fewer points.