BOSTON -- On paper, a visit by the lowly New York Knicks should be just what the doctor ordered for the struggling Boston Celtics.
But the way things have gone for the Eastern Conference favorites this season, even an appearance by the Knicks (4-14) doesn't mean anything is guaranteed.
After losing at Charlotte on Monday night, the Celtics are 9-8 and have been called "the biggest disappointment" in the NBA by former star turned television commentator Paul Pierce.
They are 3-6 in their last nine games.
The Knicks gave the West-leading Portland Trail Blazers all they could handle at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night, but dropped their sixth straight game -- largely thanks to missed free throws in the fourth quarter.
"I've been through a lot of losing streaks," New York's Enes Kanter said after the latest loss. "The most important thing is not to fall apart. Stay together and keep fighting. Don't make any excuses. If you're going to lose a game, just make them feel us first."
The Knicks' Tim Hardaway Jr. delivered his third straight 30-point game in the latest loss and has 94 points in the three games. Noah Vonleh, who hails from Haverhill, Mass., had 14 points and 14 rebounds Tuesday.
"Finishing is our No. 1 priority right now," New York's Trey Burke said. "We're playing teams all the way down to the wire and we're coming up short and that's been the ongoing story all year."
Copyright 2018 by the Associated Press