at Boston Celtics (16-17) at New York Knicks (23-10)
Monday, January 7, 2013
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #34 – Road Game #18
TV: CSNNE MSG, SNET1, NBA-LP 753(BOS)/754(NYK)
Radio: WEEI, ESPN NY
Madison Square GardenProbable Starters
PG: #9 Rajon Rondo .................................................... SG: #0 Avery Bradley
C: #5 Kevin Garnett
SF: #34 Paul Pierce .............................................. PF #30 Brandon Bass Celtics Reserves
Chris Wilcox (thumb) out
Fab Melo (concussion) outProbable Starters
PG: Jason Kidd ............................................ SG:Ronnie Brewer
C: Tyson Chandler
SF: Carmelo Anthony ............................................. PF:Marcus CambyKnicks Reserves
Kurt Thomas Injuries
Raymond Felton (finger) out
Iman Shumpert (ACL) out
Rasheed Wallace (foot) questionable Game Notes
Celtics visit division leading Knicks with both teams in search of 3rd straight win. Whenever these two teams get together there is always a playoff atmosphere, even in the preseason. They split the series last season with each team winning on their home court. They also split a pair in the preseason this year.
The Knicks lead the Atlantic Division with the Celtics in 3rd, 7 games back. The Celtics are still in the 8th spot in the East and are 2 games up on the Sixers who have dropped to 9th and half a game behind Milwaukee for the 7th spot. The Knicks last won the division in 1993-94 but look to end the Celtics 5 year reign over the Atlantic this season.
The Knicks are a very good home team with a 13-3 record while the Celtics have struggled on the road with 6 wins and 11 losses. The Celtics are 4-6 in their last 10 games and the Knicks are a slightly better 5-5 in their last 10. Both have won 2 in a row and are looking for their 3rd straight win. Both teams are coming off a come from behind win in their last game on Saturday.
The Celtics can once again get back to .500 with a win in this game. There are rumors all over about Danny working on a blockbuster trade and that's always unsettling for players. Hopefully it won't affect their play in this game as the Celtics need everyone to play well if they are going to come out on top in this one. Key Matchups
Kevin Garnett vs Tyson Chandler
This will be a battle between two tough defenders. KG has been playing very well and has played with renewed energy and purpose in the past two games. Chandler has been playing very well this season, averaging 12.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks per game. This should be a fun matchup to watch.
Paul Pierce vs Carmelo Anthony
This is a tough match up for both players but probably harder for Pierce given Melo's level of play this season. Both have come up big for their teams in this matchup in the past. Melo has averaged 30.8 points in their 4 meetings last season while Pierce averaged 35.7 points in 3 games that he played in. Melo has been playing at an MVP level, coming off a 40 point game on Saturday and Pierce will have to up his game to stay with him.
Rajon Rondo vs Jason Kidd
This will be an interesting matchup between the new guard in Rondo vs the old guard in Jason Kidd. These two point guards didn't meet last year as each missed one game vs each other. Kidd leads the league with 32 regular season triple doubles in his 19 seasons. Rondo comes in third with 15 in his 7 seasons. Rondo is another Celtic that gets up for the Knicks. He averaged 17.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 13.3 assists in the 4 games last season. Keys to the Game
- The Knicks have been playing good defense since Woodson took over as coach and the Celtics have shown in the past 2 games that they are still capable of locking teams down. The Celtics have to make defense their priority in this game especially because the Knicks can be a very dangerous offensive team. The Celtics must especially guard the perimeter as the Knicks are 3rd in the league in 3 point percentage at 38.8% and they aren't shy about shooting them. But they also have to guard the paint because the Knicks have several players who can take it strong to the hoop as well.
- The Celtics are still 30th in the league in rebounding with 38.6 per game. The Knicks aren't much better, coming in at 27th with 39.94 per game. That will change, though now that Amare is back and averaging over 10 rebounds per game. The Celtics have got to crash the boards as a team and win the battle on the glass if they want to win this game. Be Aggressive
- The Celtics must be the more aggressive team. They have to be aggressive in going to the hoop and not settle for jumpers, especially if the jumpers aren't falling. They must be aggressive on the boards and in going after loose balls and winning the 50/50 plays. The more aggressive team gets the calls from the officials and that will be important in this game. We know that the Knicks will be aggressive and so the Celtics have to match that intensity. Play 48 Minutes
- The Celtics must get off to a good start and play hard for 48 minutes in this game. They may have gotten away with playing 2 quarters against the Hawks, but the Knicks are too good to allow a similar comeback if the Celtics let themselves get down. X-Factors
Team Effort and Officiating
If the Celtics play as a team like they did in the Pacers game and in the second half of the Hawks game, they stand a good chance of winning this. If they play a disjointed game as they did in the first half of the Hawks game, it could get very ugly. In the Knicks games I've watched this season, they got a lot of help from the officials. Hopefully they call a fair game in this one. It's hard to win playing 5 on 8.