Tip: 7:30PM Court: Madison Square Garden Watch it: CSNNE Hear it: WEEI
Referees: Tony Brothers, Dick Bavetta and Violet Palmer
The Celtics and Knicks split the season series last year, with each team winning on its home court.
Get it to: Rajon Rondo
With Raymond Felton out with a finger injury, the Knicks are riding Jason Kidd hard. So hard that he’s already sitting out practices. Kidd can still put up some decent offensive numbers, but chasing Rajon Rondo around the court will be a challenge. Pablo Prigioni, a 35-year-old Argentinian, is also logging minutes. If Rajon Rondo can penetrate (and there’s no reason he shouldn’t), force Tyson Chandler to rotate, he should be able to find open guys. The Knicks are not a defensive juggernaut. They rank 23 in opponents points per play.
Gotta stop: Carmelo Anthony
Melo is playing the best basketball of his career. He’s averaging 29 ppg, shooting 48% FG, 43% 3FG and pulling down 6 rebounds. Just playing out of his mind. I’m guessing Doc Rivers will go with Paul Pierce mano-e-mano on Anthony. If Pierce can hold his own without getting into foul trouble and keep the Celtics from sending a double-team, the Celtics might be able to contain the Knicks offense.
The Wild Card: Boston’s perimeter defense vs the Knicks 3-point shooting
The Knicks are 1st in 3 point attempts (29) and makes (11), and 4th in 3-point FG% (39%). JR Smith, Steve Novak and Jason Kidd are all shooting better than 40% from 3. With the return of Avery Bradley, the Celtics have improved their Opp. 3 FG% by three-percent (37.5 – 34.4).
How we see it goin’ down
Call me naive, but I refuse to sweat the Knicks. After a ridiculous start, they’ve cooled off and gone 5-5 over their last ten. After all, they’re still the Knicks [insert laughter here].
Laughter aside, I don’t like the Celtics in this game. New York has been awesome at home and they know a victory over Boston is a must to cement their status as an elite team.
The Celtics have improved dramatically in their past two games, but … this game marks the Celtics 4th in 6 nights.
This one will be close, but I fear the Knicks will pull away late.
Oh yeah, forget about seeing Rasheed Wallace. He’s out with a bum foot.