at Boston Celtics (38-34) at New York Knicks (45-26)
Sunday, March 31, 2013
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #73 – Road Game #37
TV: CSNNE MSG, NBA-LP 755(BOS)/756(NYK)
Radio: WEEI, ESPN NY
Madison Square GardenProbable Starters
PG: #0 Avery Bradley .................................................... SG: #34 Paul Pierce
C: #44 Chris Wilcox
SF: #8 Jeff Green .............................................. PF #30 Brandon Bass Celtics Reserves
Jordan Crawford Injuries
Rajon Rondo (knee) out
Kevin Garnett (ankle) out
Jared Sullinger (back) out Red Claws
Fab Melo Probable Starters
PG: Pablo Prigioni ............................................ SG:Raymond Felton
C: Kenyon Martin
SF: Carmelo Anthony ............................................. PF:Iman ShumpertKnicks Reserves
Tyson Chandler (knee/neck) questionable
Amar'e Stoudemire (knee) out
Kurt Thomas (foot) out
Rasheed Wallace (foot) outGame Notes
The Celtics travel to Madison Square Garden to take on the Knicks for the 4th and final time this season. Although the Knicks have taken the Atlantic Division crown from the Celtics, there is still plenty to play for in this one. First and foremost, this may be a preview of the first round playoff matchup if the standings remain as they are now. Second, these teams really don't like each other and there is pride involved.
Third, there could still be some shake up in the standings and the Celtics could move up in the standings whereas, the Knicks are trying to hold off the Pacers and keep from dropping to the 3rd spot. The Celtics are 3 games in front of the Bucks, who are in the 8th spot. They are also 1.5 games behind Chicago in the 6th spot and 2 behind Atlanta in the 5th spot. The Knicks are just percentage points in front of the Pacers and need the win to stay in the 2nd spot.
The Celtics are 4-6 in their last 10 games while the Knicks are 7-3 in their last 10 games. The Knicks are a good home team with a 26-10 record at MSG, but one of those 10 losses was to the Celtics. The Celtics haven't played well on the road but must find a way to win away from TD Garden since they must win on the road in the playoffs. The Celtics are just 13-23 on the road, but again, one of those 13 wins is against the Knicks.
The Celtics are looking for their 3rd straight win while the Knicks are on a 7 game win streak, looking for their 8th straight win. The Knicks are in the final game of a 3 game home stand. The Knicks are looking to win the season series with the Celtics for the first time since the 2003-2004 season.
The game notes have the same big starting lineup that Doc has used i the past two games. He has said that he's not sure who will start each game, but that lineup is 2-0 and so it seems logical to stick with it while they are winning. Hopefully the bench will also produce as they did against the Hawks. Key Matchups
Chris Wilcox vs Kenyon Martin
Kenyon Martin had 9 points and 5 rebounds in the Tuesday's game and afterwards said that he had a chip on his shoulder against the Celtics for backing out of a deal to sign him. Danny since said that he never talked to Martin so he may even have more fuel to his fire in this game. Chris has to be aggressive on both ends of the court.
Jeff Green vs Carmelo Anthony
Paul Pierce has said that the toughest matchup for him in the league is Carmelo Anthony. If Doc sticks with the big starting lineup he has used in the last 2 games, it will fall to Jeff Green to try to stop him. Slowing Melo down is key as the Knicks go as Melo goes. In the last 7 games between these two teams, in the Knicks 4 wins, Melo has averaged 32 points per game, but in their 3 losses, Melo has averaged just 23.7 points per game on 34% shooting. Keys to the Game Stop JR Smith
- JR Smith has emerged as the Knicks top gunner. In Tuesday's game against the Celtics, Smith scored 32 points off the bench. He then went on to score 35 against Memphis and 37 against the Bobcats, both Knicks' wins. It will be crucial for the Celtics to try to slow Smith down and keep him from having another big game.
- The Knicks have been playing good defense since Woodson took over as coach and the Celtics have also gotten back to their defensive roots, although they have also strayed from it in some games. 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 2nd in the league in 3 pointers made 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 like Melo, KMart, and Smith as well.
- The Celtics are 29th in the league in rebounding but he Knicks aren't all that much better, coming in at 24th. Chandler is questionable for this game and they will be a bigger threat on the boards if he plays. 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. The Celtics have gotten off to strong starts only to collapse and give up big leads. They have also gotten off to slow starts and sometimes have come back and other times have not been able to catch up. They may get away with slow starts or with letting up in the game with some teams, but they can't count on the Knicks to let them back in if they get themselves down in this game. X-Factors
Focus On the Road
The Celtics have been terrible on the road this season and that's putting it mildly. They have won just 13 games away from home this season. It will be crucial for the Celtics to find a way to get back to winning on the road since they won't have home court in the playoffs and will need to win on the road then. This would be a good time for them to find that focus and prove that they can beat a quality team on the road.