Boston: 95.6 points/100 possessions (24th)
New York: 100.1 points/ 100 possessions (20th)
Boston: 95.6 points allowed/100 possessions (7th)
New York: 95.0 points allowed/100 possessions (5th)
Probable New York starters:
Amar’e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, Danillo Gallinari, Landry Fields (true story)
The Celtics met New York twice during the preseason and twice came out victorious. Tonight is not the preseason. The Celtics had their hands full with J.J. Hickson in their game against Cleveland as he used his athleticism to completely out-match the Celtics. Amar’e Soutdemire is better. Luckily for the men in green, I expect everyone to give a better effort than they did against the Cavaliers.
New York is coming off a 5 point win against Toronto where they were out assisted by Jarrett Jack and Jose Calderon alone. I expect some big numbers from Rajon Rondo en route to a resounding victory.
WHAT THE KNICKS DO WELL:
Finish at the rim. The Knicks went 16-27 at shots closer than 10 feet in their game against Toronto (HoopData). That would have been good for 9th in the league last season and nearly 13 percentage points higher than league average (HoopData).
WHAT THE KNICKS DO POORLY:
Right now, share the basketball. Raymond Felton has yet to show he can fill the shoes of Amar’e Stoudemire‘s former running-mate Steve Nash. He can’t, but he hasn’t even come close with just six assists in his first game. Not to mention the rest of the Knicks matched Felton’s assist output. Yeeeeaasshh.
PLAYER/S THAT MAKE ME WORRY:
PLAYERS WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY:
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE FROM BOSTON TONIGHT:
Some respect. The Celtics’ Ray Allen openly admitted that his team overlooked the Cavaliers and they could easily do that tonight. The Celtics are a better team than the new-look Knicks, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to prove it. I want to see some smoother offensive execution in the half-court. Knicks’ coach Mike D’Antoni likes to get his teams out and running. Doc Rivers thinks the Celtics can be really good on the fly. I don’t think the Cs should abandon the fastbreak, I think they need to execute it better. This means no more coast-to-coasts from Nate Robinson when Marquis Daniels is wide-open underneath the basket. This means no more forced passes into the lane from Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett. No matter which way you write it, execution is the name of the game.
The same goes for the defensive end. The Celtics were sharp with their rotations against Cleveland but lazy on their close-outs. The Knicks like to shoot threes and thus far are shooting 29%. The Celtics do not want to be the team the Knicks use to prove they can shoot threes.
Celtics win 100-92.