New York at Boston
8:00 PM EST
Boston: 103.9 points/100 possessions (19th)
New York: 108.4 points/100 possessions (5th)
Boston: 97.7 points allowed/100 possessions (2nd)
New York: 106.9 points allowed/100 possessions (21st)
Probable NY starters: Chauncey Billups (PG), Landry Fields (SG), Carmelo Anthony (SF), Shawne Williams (PF), Ronny Turiaf (C)
Probable BOS starters: Carlos Arroyo (PG), Von Wafer (SG), Jeff Green (SF), Glen Davis (PF), Jermaine O’Neal (C)
View from the opposing bench: Knickerblogger
Thumbnail: It took the Celtics until game 82 to finally find meaninglessness. During Monday’s game with Washington, the second seed was still undecided. But nothing’s on the line tonight in this glorified exhibition game that also serves as an unrepresentative playoff preview. Doc Rivers will rest his starters, Amare Stoudamire and Delonte West will sit with injuries, and defense will likely be played in passing, if at all.
So why watch? Let’s see if we can’t find a few reasons.
Reason #1: Avery Bradley. Conditions are perfect for the C’s rookie PG tonight. Rajon Rondo has the night off. West is hurt. Arroyo can’t play the whole game. Bradley may break his season high in minutes, 15, which he set back in December against the Nets. It would almost be cruel for Doc to anchor him to the bench tonight, wouldn’t it? This is his last chance at game action until next fall.
Reason #2: Jeff Green. The fleet forward tore up the Wizards on Monday night for 20 points and 15 rebounds in 47 long minutes. You can read little into the specific numbers but the extended run and improved rhythm can only help him going into a playoff season that may serve as a referendum on his time in Boston. He got up 20 shots Monday. Let’s hope for that many again tonight.
Reason #3: Jermaine O’Neal. JO put up a 15 and 13 line on Monday and tagged on 5 blocks, all impressive totals. But even more striking are the 37 minutes he logged. He hadn’t played that many minutes since March 18, 2010. Back in the lineup now for 7 games, is it possible that O’Neal really will live up to his Feb 5 tweet where he promised “I know I haven’t been out there much this year, but I promise I will be there when the Cs need me the most! That I guarantee!”? ‘Cause that time is now.
Reason #4: Mike and Tommy. The NBA knows you hate listening to your local announcers and will shuttle Mike and Tommy off the air at the conclusion of the first round. So, this is your last chance to listen to Tommy in his relaxed state. By Sunday night, he should be practically volcanic.
Reason #5: Your blood pressure. Of course, the tension rises for all Celtics fans this weekend. Tonight is the last game where you can laugh off a bad call or a subpar Boston effort. Speaking of which…
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE FROM BOSTON TONIGHT
Boston 108 New York 104