Tip: 8:00pm Court: TD Garden Watch it: ESPN Hear it: WEEI
Referees: Monty McCutchen, Curtis Blair, Eric Dalen
|Record: 11-10 (2nd Atlantic, 7th East)||Record: 8014 (3rd Atlantic, 10th East)|
|At home: 7-6||On road: 4-7|
|Streak: Won 2||Streak: Lost 1|
|Buckets: Pierce (17.8 ppg)||Buckets: Carmelo Anthony(23.8 ppg)|
|Boards: Garnett (7.2 rpg)||Boards: Tyson Chandler (10.0 rpg)|
|Dimes: Rondo (9.4 apg)||Dimes: Anthony (4.3 apg)|
|For the Stat Geeks:||For the Stat Geeks:|
|Offensive Rating: 1101.7 (20th NBA)||Offensive Rating: 100.1 (24th NBA)|
|Defensive Rating: 97.9 (3rd NBA)||Defensive Rating: 100.7 (10th NBA)|
|Pace: 88.8 (27th NBA)||Pace: 94.0 (2nd NBA)|
The Knicks beat the Celtics in the season opener, 106-104. Carmelo Anthony had 37 points and 8 rebounds for New York and Rajon Rondo had 31 points and 13 assists. The game was marred by technical fouls in a Joey Crawford special.
Get it to: Rajon Rondo
He participated in morning shootaround, and this has been the date that has been mentioned the most so far, so I'm going to make the assumption he's starting. The Knicks have no answer for him, so it's up to Rondo to take the ball right at the Knicks defense and try to get Tyson Chandler in early foul trouble. At the very worst, he'll pull the Knicks defenders out of position, opening up good looks for shooters and lanes to get past Chandler at the rim.
Gotta stop: Amar'e Stoudemire
The Knicks have two scorers on the team. One of them can go off and you'll be fine. If both go off, forget it. Stoudemire is the softer of the two, so he's the guy I try to shut down. He's not going to do much damage in the post, but whenever he DOES get down there, it's important to put a body on him and push him out of the paint. He'll be happy to take jump shots, so those have to be contested. He's not having the best season of his life, so the C's should make sure to frustrate him early in hopes of taking him completely out of his game.
The Wild Card: The Knicks Backcourt
Iman Shumpert likes to shoot. A lot. He's not very good at it yet, but he can get on a hot streak. His shooting has tailed off a bit as he tries to play within the Knicks system, but he HAS had games where he's taken more shots than the stars.
Landry Fields had a big game last night, showing he has the ability to torch you if you're not careful.
The Knicks back court is it's most glaring weakness, but it doesn't mean it should be dismissed. If you you let these guys get open looks and they get hot, you're in for a long night. If you force them to take contested shots, though, they'll miss much more often than they make… and it will take shots away from Carmelo Anthony.
How we see it goin' down
The Knicks are coming off a hard-fought game against the Bulls. Every starter played big minutes. And even though the trip to Boston is a short one, it's still a late night.
The Celtics, meanwhile, had a day off after a blowout win in which the starters were rested. They remember Christmas day and they want to make a statement against the Knicks on a national broadcast.
With the return of Rajon Rondo, we'll see an aggressive brand of Celtics basketball that will make flat-footed Knicks defenders reach… either leading to fouls on them or fouls on Chandler, who'll be left to fend for himself. Meanwhile, the much improved Celtics defense will force the tired Knicks into settling for jumpers.
While no lead is assured for the Celtics, they will come out strong and slowly pull away from the tired, lazy Knicks and win going away, 101-88.