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Game 24/82: Celtics (19-4) @ Knickerbockers (16-9) Open Thread

 

Boston at New York
Madison Square Garden
7:00 pm
CSN

Offensive Efficiency
Boston: 109.3 points/100 possessions (9th)
New York: 111.6 points/100 possessions (6th)

Defensive Efficiency
Boston: 98.7 points allowed/100 possessions (1st)
New York: 109.6 points allowed/100 possessions (22nd)

Probable New York starters: Raymond Felton (PG), Landry Fields (SG), Wilson Chandler (SF), Danillo Galinari (F), Amare Stoudemire (C)

View from opposing bench: Knickerblogger

Thumbnail: Major media outlets are billing tonight’s game as a “rivalry game” and I am left wondering why.  Make no mistake, I mean no hubris.  But calling tonight’s game a “rivalry game” seems a bit premature.  It’s like crowning the Heat the 2011 NBA Champions.  The Knicks have improved this season, that is for sure.  That said, the only tangible evidence to support this “rivalry” notion is the Knicks’ current eight-game winning streak.  If you didn’t catch the italics, let me flesh this win streak out for you:

During this eight game win streak, the following teams have succumbed to the superior basketball skill of the Atlantic Division runner-ups :  Pistons (2OT), Raptors (twice), Nets, Timberwolves, Hornets (losers of 9 of their last 12), Wizards,  and Nuggets.  What do 6 out of those 8 teams have in common?  If you said they all end in “s”, you’d be right (also all sub-.500 teams).  You could actually argue that the Knicks only have one truly quality win this season (against the Chicago Bulls on November 4th).

None of this explanation is an argument in favor of the Celtics taking the Knicks lightly.  I think tonight should be a really good game (especially considering the fact that Shaquille O’Neal is not playing).  I just believe calling this a “rivalry game” is a gross abuse of poetic license.  Oh and Paul Pierce and Amar’e Stoudemire both agree with me.

WHAT THE KNICKS DO WELL

Put the ball in the basket. This team is on a eight game winning streak and their defense isn’t the reason why. They are a top 5 offensive team thanks to their ability to shoot the ball efficiently (3rd) and get to the free throw line (4th). Amar’e Stoudemire is obviously the ring leader in this department but Danilo Gallinari has been sneaky good as well in getting to the charity stripe nearly six times a game. Plus he hits 90 percent of their shots, which helps.

Shoot a lot of 3′s. They don’t always make them but the quantity of them make up for it usually as the Knicks lead the league in attempts with 617. They are only in the middle of the pack in shooting them but they do have an arsenal of gunners who can fire it up there in any situation. The C’s will have to be ready to close out tonight on them.

WHAT THE KNICKS DO POORLY

Defend. They are not as bad as they use to be, but are still in the bottom third of the league on the defensive end. There isn’t one thing within the defensive four factors they do particularly poorly, but that’s not really impressive considering there’s nothing they do particularly well either. All things considered, it’s a team of which any capable offensive team should take advantage.

Rebound. That’s what you get when you go small and jack up a lot of 3′s, there’s no one there to clean up the mess.  Given the fact that the C’s lack bigs of their own tonight, this weakness will not be as exploited as it could be.

PLAYERS WHO MAKE ME WORRY

Landry Fields. Only because it’s utterly pointless to write about Amar’e Stoudemire.  Everyone knows what Amar’e can do–score in bunches, over-power you, dunk on your face, draw fouls, play very little defense– but not everyone has heard of Fields.  The rookie has kept up his consistent high-energy play which has caused a lot of people to take notice.  I mentioned this before the teams’ first meeting, but it bears repeating:  Fields is Anderson Varejao in a SG/SF’s body.

Raymond Felton. Dude has been tearing it up lately, averaging 20 points and 10 assists over his last ten games (HoopData.com).  Obviously, Felton isn’t projected to be as good against Rajon Rondo.  Rondo is a top flight point guard known for his defense (among other things).  Celtics fans’ are also well aware that Rondo makes it his personal mission each game to outplay the opposing point guard–especially those that have garnered recongnition nationally.  Count Felton among that group of guards.  He may not be in the top tier, but he’s been playing that way as of late.

PLAYERS WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY

Any Center. Whether it be Timofey Mozgov or Ronnie Turiaf, neither of the Knicks’ centers inspire fear.  Glen Davis will be getting the majority of the minutes in the middle and while Mozgov towers over him, he lacks the necessary edge to matchup with Baby.  Turiaf, on the other hand, may be a seasoned vet but his game is too similar to Davis’- only Davis is better.

WHAT WE WANT TO SEE TONIGHT

The Celtics have had a ton of trouble with high-energy/junkyard-type players  (see Fields above).  This may even cause coach Doc Rivers to consider shuffling the starting lineup tonight.  With both O’Neal’s out and the Knicks tendency to go small with Stoudemire in the middle, Rivers may choose to play Paul Pierce at the power forward tonight.  He would be guarding Danilo Gallinari (a guy who mostly matches up with Pierce anyway) and Rivers could move Marquis Daniels into the starting lineup to guard Wilson Chandler in lieu of Semih Erden.

That is, of course, if Mike D’Antoni does not shuffle his lineup by putting Timofey Mozgov in to matchup with the Celtics’ de facto starter, Erden.  Whatever happens, each team will be sure to make the necesary adjustments.  When it’s all said and done, the Celtics should come out with a win tonight.  They are just the better team–but more importantly, they are the better defensive team and a fairly comparable offensive team.

PREDICTION

The Celtics will at first try to beat the Knicks at their own game, but will eventually tighten up their defense.  Celtics 110, Knicks 105.

  • complexity

    Ray allen scores 20 and the Celtics win by more than 10.

    If he doesn't they lose by 5.

    I'm even getting into predictions now.

    We know everyone else is going to put up their standard numbers in this game and KG is going to be a beast.

  • complexity

    20 or more!

    My section prediction is Brendans which sounds a lot more exciting!

  • JP-

    I think the Knicks will be able to score on the beat up Celts, but the Celts will lock down the defense enough where they get the win.

  • complexity

    Not looking good early. Celtics need to slow it down.

  • phreesh

    Yo. Knicks fan here, and *he's calling from inside the house*!

    As a Knicks fan, it's nice (for the first time in about a decade) to have a lineup that has to at least gain the attention of the Cs.

    Eager to see if Felton can get his numbers vs. Rondo.

    So, after having looked at the stats, perused the injury report and analysed the results, I think it's pretty clear that the chief question is whether the Knicks will blow out the Celtics or if the Celtics will be able to hold for a close loss.

    I'll try to hang around here for the game, so it'll be pretty cool to see how many of you see the light and become Knicks fans before the night ends.

    Later.

    • I_Love_Green

      Funny.

  • phreesh

    KG blows a slam after Rondo unselfishly gives him the rock. Hilarious.

    • complexity

      Enjoy it now because that only happens 1 out of every 10 times.

  • phreesh

    11 point lead. Amare unguardable right now.

  • complexity

    Ray never did this many layups as he has the last few games, has he?

  • phreesh

    Allen with a couple buckets. Looking for his shot now. Good timeout by the moustache.

  • I_Love_Green

    Rondo being too unselfish, and Paul not catching his passes.

  • LStrike

    Down by 7 at halftime, now the Celtics will takeover.

  • I_Love_Green

    Refs are not helping us at all.

  • phreesh

    Gallo lighting it up. It's like the rain, baby. You can't stop the rain!!

  • J. Atlas

    what the hell just happen between rondo and kg??? they look like they are about to scrap

    • J. Atlas

      nevermind it's all good

  • phreesh

    Amare busts through 30 before the fourth.

    Possibly the most dominant player in the NBA so far this season. Did I say possibly? He IS the most dominant player in the league.

    • ElRoz

      If you only count scoring….he could be in top 3…but D Howard has much more balanced numbers. Kevin Love hits the boards better…Amare is great of course, but he is mostly scoring, and as you can see even w/o Shaq, West, Perkins, and Jermaine…Boston still wins in NY. You need more than scoring.

  • phreesh

    Pierce fouls with a second left on the clock! Three foul throws. Sweet!

  • complexity

    What a horrible foul.

  • I_Love_Green

    Wow what a garbage call. Should be a 4 point game.

    A lineup of Rondo, Ray, Quis, Paul, and KG will win us this game. Doc needs to figure that out, and quick.

  • phreesh

    Rondo down on all fours – getting helped off – can't be good for the Cs.

    While this is good for the Knicks, can't celebrate a great player injured. Like cheering on as a Da Vinci burns. Hope it's not too bad.

  • phreesh

    Amare to Ray – Not on my watch, Son.

  • complexity

    Ray Ray!!!!

  • phreesh

    Amare to Baby – Take that back home.

    (Celtics playing lockdown D, right now, though.)

    • complexity

      Nice job upping yourself. But he didn't block that Ray three!

  • complexity

    Glenn Davis is going to be like muhammad ali.

    Get the ball to Ray!

  • phreesh

    Amare with the jam followed by Nate short-arming an 8-footer.

  • Ryan DeGama

    This is a great game for fans of layups and wide-open threes.

  • phreesh

    Awesome sequence. Back and forth makes. Great quarter thus far.

  • Ryan DeGama

    C's don't look like they can get consecutive stops…. gonna be tough to pull this one out.

    • JCP

      Yea… I'm sick of these straight drives to the rim on both sides. Can we pull it out? Only time will tell…

  • phreesh

    I wondered how Felton would do against Rondo. I have my answer – Super-fantastico.

  • phreesh

    I'm curious what Celtics fans think of the Cs defence. Why is it so terrible? What are the Knicks doing to so befuddle them? Knicks are doing pretty much whatever they want on the offensive end.

  • complexity

    Don't give a f*** if we win or lose. Garnett is f***** amazing.

  • phreesh

    Looks like the Celtics brought a lay-up to a dunk fight.

  • complexity

    Ray fucking allen!!!!!

  • Ryan DeGama

    The most ridiculous (in a good way) game of the year. Living up to all the hype.

  • J. Atlas

    we let the knicks and amar'e have their fun but it's time to put this one to bed

  • complexity

    Time for Ray Allen to trend on twitter and phreesh's to head back to newyorkknicks blog.

  • phreesh

    Felton falls on a drive, followed by a wide-open three by Ray for the lead. Sigh

  • phreesh

    Gallo with a hoop and the harm – SWEET!

  • JCP

    I ALMOST hope, for our little Knick-troll's sake, that his boys can hang on.

  • J. Atlas

    time for doc to draw up the trick play for the finish

  • TedL

    We should be up one. That Gallinari flop is a pain in the butt. May work to our advantage, though – there should only be one more possession.

  • TedL

    SPLASH!!!

  • TedL

    You say you want the truth?

  • complexity

    Later phreesh, see you in a couple months!

  • TedL

    YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

  • JCP

    Love that Paul Pierce victory lap after the shot… HEYO!

  • phreesh

    And… The Truth with the clutch fallaway. Great play. Great player.

  • TedL

    watch out for the gallinari flop!!

  • TedL

    Too late!

  • TedL

    Sit down Spike – not even close.

  • complexity

    What an amazing shot, but nope!!!

  • JCP

    What a finish! GO CELTS!

  • Mike

    Ufff I froze there for a second

  • TedL

    Hey – what happened to stale?

  • phreesh

    Man….. That's a bummer. What a great shot.

    You escape this time time, Boston. But, we'll be back. We'll be back.

  • J. Atlas

    game over

  • complexity

    KG, Ray, and Pierce brought it home! The big three!

  • Morpheus

    SHIT that was close…..i was jumping up and down from the Pierce step back and then BOOOOM Amare hit that long range 3 which THANKFULLY was too late.

  • ElRoz

    Boston was w/o Shaq, Perkins, or Jermaine – their starting and back-up centers; w.o Delonte West…and still beat a hyped up NY Knicks team. At this pace Shaq would have had 20 points in 20 minutes…but NY was lucky to have a close game.

    I'd love to see this team in the playoffs – easy scoring and a sweep. I worry Miami might get them instead.

  • http://twitter.com/spree8nyk8 @spree8nyk8

    LMAO, you want to see the Knicks in the playoffs, gimme a break dude we all know that's bs.

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