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NEW YORK — It’s amazing the way the Knicks are genuflecting to superstars the days.

First Kobe throws down a consensual 61 points, then LeBron suffocates the stat sheet with 52 points, 11 assists and nine boards.

This never would happen without a ripple of resistance if Isiah Thomas and Mardy Collins were on duty.

But give the Madison Square Garden galoots who cheered for Kobe (“It could be a Celine concert for all they know,” column contributor Gerald Gallaher gently massages) credit; at least they didn’t stand until James scored his first basket.

James’ priceless presentation perfectly illustrates why he’ll never join the Knicks. That would put an end to them, ahem, guarding him.

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I feel bad for Stephen Jackson whose very own first career triple-double (30, 11 and 10) against the Suns was muffled with a silencer . . . and he left one in the chamber.

Judging by their nightly malfunction it’s doubtful the Wizards ever tuned into coach Ed Tapscott, but he is surely being tuned out now.

How do you insert Oleksiy Pecherov for the final 25 seconds against my Paper Clips and then dribble out the clock?

You just don’t do that. It means Tapscott doesn’t get it. It breeds disrespect throughout the roster.

Scoring machine Anthony Johnson abused Baron Davis for 20 points by halftime. The announcer said it was the 17th time in 750 games he had reached that mark; he finished with 25.

Only able to go foul line to foul line these dog days and incapable of so much as pretending to get over (or under, for that matter) a pick if brushed, Baron (3-for-10 and five assists in 24 minutes) would have trouble getting a run in an over-35 weekend league.

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Battle of big men last Wednesday in Dallas resulted in Greg Oden flexing for six and Erick Dampier generating a deuce.

Last seconds of the recent Pistons-Heat game, with Detroit up three, Tayshaun Prince wisely fouled a dribbling Dwyane Wade at midcourt. So what happened?

The referees completely ignored the intentional act and allowed Wade to hoist up a 3-pointer a couple bounces later. It missed.

Still, Prince angrily complained to the nearest blind mouse about the non-call.

Imagine the commotion had the dry heave tied the game!

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Aside from their obvious talent, the Celtics just know how to win. Even on the road and trailing they rarely get rattled.

The other night in Philly with one minute left and 90 yards to go without a timeout and needing a touchdown, they looked like the Steelers . . . and Thaddeus Young and Samuel Dalembert looked like Cardinals defenders as Ray Allen won the game with an open three.

The Bulls scored on 10 of their first 11 possessions to open the game against the Chris Paul-less Hornets and breezed to a 14-point win.

Over the last five games James Posey has produced 4-for-27, while his team has given up 49 percent of all points scored in the lane.

As the basketball gods say, “Your NBA defense is only as good as your off-the-ball defenders.

New Orleans minus Paul is like an artist with no brushes.

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If there’s one stat that needs to be tweaked, it’s Points in the Paint.

If a player hits a shot in that area, it counts for two in the paint. On the other hand, if he gets fouled while scoring in that area the free throw doesn’t count as “PiP” . . . which is why the PiP are always even numbers.

Also, say Shaq gets fouled going to the basket and makes his free throw, those points do not count in the paint.

At the same time, a free throw tagged onto a fast break layup does count, as it should, as a fast break point.

Think about the absurdity of this: If a player scores on a fast break layup, gets fouled, and makes the free throw, the team gets credited with three fast break points, but only two points in the paint.

Though, to be honest, I would prefer not counting any layups on the break as in the paint. I would prefer in the paint just to be from a set offense.

I’m now officially tired of this topic . . . so I know you must be as well.

* * * * *

What was Kevin Garnett doing last week parading the length of the Celtics bench high-fiving teammates after fouling out with 4:20 left against the Lakers with Boston up two?

Had he accomplished something I missed?

For someone who wound up leaving his team out on the floor for an additional nine minutes of being unable to contain Pau Gasol, he sure looked awfully proud.

This just in: Bernie Madoff has changed his name to Ponzi Wells.

Peter Vecsey covers the NBAfor the New York Post.

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