Perhaps this should be a playoff staple — have both benches play a meaningless preliminary game.

Such was the nature of the Celtics' 112-102 regular-season-ending win last night against the New York Knicks, a game of little defense but plenty of crowd-pleasing scoring.

Except for Amare Stoudemire, who played 20 minutes in an attempt to loosen up a balky ankle, this game was run purely on sub power.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers gave Jermaine O'Neal a break after the center played Sunday and Monday during a back-to-back swing through Miami and Washington. Instead, the Celtics started Nenad Krstic, who responded by producing one of his best performances of the past month with 17 points, eight rebounds and three assists in 27 minutes.

Celtics swingman Jeff Green, who also needs as much extended time as possible, chipped in 14 points and eight boards. The forward has 23 rebounds in his past two games.