By DOUG ALDEN
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Brad Stevens will celebrate his first NBA coaching victory when it counts.
Stevens was content to focus on the improvement the Boston Celtics made from one night to the next in a 111-81 preseason victory over the New York Knicks on Saturday night.
Boston was winless in its first three exhibition games under Stevens, who was hired away from Butler to take over the storied franchise at the age of 36.
“If I’m not going to count those last three, I can’t count this one I guess,” Stevens joked.
The Celtics scored at least 24 points in every quarter, shot 54 percent and — most importantly — looked little like the team that lost to Philadelphia 97-85 the night before.
“We got the ball up the floor. We played with good pace. I just thought we didn’t labor as much offensively as we did yesterday,” Stevens said.
The Celtics capitalized on a short-handed version of the Knicks, who were playing their third game in four nights and rested Carmelo Anthony and most of his veteran teammates.
Rookie Kelly Olynyk had 15 points and six rebounds for the Celtics, who scored the first 10 points and never trailed.
Boston started the third quarter with a 20-5 run against a JV version of the Knicks, who also played the night before.
New York also rested starters Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler as well as Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih. Kenyon Martin also sat out and has yet to play this preseason.
Ike Diogu led the Knicks (1-2) with 21 points and eight rebounds, including five on the offensive end. Toure Murry added 16 points and Andrea Bargnani scored 11.
Avery Bradley and Jordan Crawford scored 13 apiece for Boston.
MINNEAPOLIS — Austin Daye scored 12 points to help the Toronto Raptors win a sloppy preseason game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Tyler Hansbrough was the only other Raptor in double figures with 11. The Raptors shot 50 percent to overcome 35 fouls and three technicals for delay of game, which is a point of emphasis with officials this season.
Kevin Love had 28 points and 11 rebounds in 28 minutes for the Timberwolves.
BULLS 83, WIZARDS 81
RIO DE JANEIRO — Derrick Rose missed the first NBA game played in South America on Saturday, sitting out the Chicago Bulls’ 83-81 victory over the Washington Wizards with soreness in his surgically repaired left knee.
The NBA star’s absence disappointed a sellout crowd of 13,635 at the HSBC Arena in Rio — the gymnastics venue at the 2016 Olympics — where the top ticket price for the preseason game was 2,000 Brazilian reals ($915).
Taj Gibson led the Bulls with 18 points and Luol Deng added 14. Bradley Beal paced Washington with 16.
Rose had played two preseason games without any sign of problems, but Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said the knee flared up in practice Friday and Rose ended his work about halfway through the session.
CLIPPERS 106, JAZZ 74
SALT LAKE CITY — Byron Mullens scored 15 points, DeAndre Jordan had 14 points and seven rebounds, and Blake Griffin added 12 points in limited minutes to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 106-74 win over the Utah Jazz. Richard Jefferson had 13 points and eight rebounds to lead the Jazz, and Alec Burks added 12 points.