Tip: 8:00 PM Court: Madison Square Garden Watch it: TNT Hear it: WEEI
Referees: Dan Crawford, Tony Brown, Pat Fraher
Rajon Rondo had 18 points, 17 rebounds and 20 assists and Paul Pierce nailed a huge 3 to send the game into overtime as the Celtics beat the Knicks in a thriller 115-111.
Get it to: Rajon Rondo
I went back and forth between Rondo and Pierce. And I still think Pierce is having a big game (he's averaging more than 27 points against the Knicks over the past 3 years. But Rondo is on too big of a roll. Plust he's facing Baron Davis. I'm looking at another potential triple double night out of Rondo.
Gotta stop: Everyone not named Carmelo Anthony
He's really their only option at the moment. In their loss to the Heat, he had 42, the rest of the team had 43. So let him go off for 50… which he won't against this defense, but still… so long as you rotate out well on the rest of the team, run them off 3's, and rebound… you'll be just fine.
The Wild Card: Ray Allen
He's playing with no limitations. The Celtics say he's been running and shooting, so he's hopefully not rusty. I've been a big fan of the 2nd quarter lineups headed up by Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. Toss Pietrus in there now… and this Celtics bench is looking really good. If Ray can bomb away off the bench, the C's could bury the Knicks early.
How we see it goin' down
I'm tempted to pick a tight game because the four point win the Celtics got in OT was twice the biggest margin of victory of either of the two other games. But these are different teams right now. The Knicks have no Lin or Stoudemire. Baron Davis is their starting point guard, which is not good.
The Celtics, meanwhile, are throwing the Rondo/Bradley tandem at them, letting Bradley ball hawk while Rondo plays passing lanes. I don't think Davis and Shumpert are ready to handle that. And there's no way the Knicks second unit, even with JR Smith's scoring potential, can keep up with the Ray/KG/Pietrus lineup to start the 2nd quarter.
I think the C's break the pattern of close games and win this one by 10, 95-85.