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Game 22/66: Knicks (8-14) @ Celtics (11-10) Open Thread

 

New York at Boston
8:00 PM
TD Garden
ESPN/CSNNE

Offensive Efficiency
Boston: 99.9 points/100 possessions (17th)
New York: 97.1 points/100 possessions (24th)

Defensive Efficiency
Boston: 94.7 points/100 possessions (2nd)
New York: 97.8 points/100 possessions (11th)

Probable NY Starters: Iman Shumpert (PG) Landry Fields (SG), ‘Melo (SF), Amare Stoudemire (PF), Tyson Chandler (C)

View from the Opposing Bench: Knickerblogger

Injury Report
Boston: Rajon Rondo is a game-time decision but may play. Keyon Dooling is out.
New York: Baron Davis ain’t ready yet.

THUMBNAIL
Tonight marks the end of the first trimester of the season, and the opponent that closes it is the same one that opened it: the Knicks, who beat the Celtics 106-104 on Christmas Day. In Gotham, that probably feels like a lifetime ago. The Knicks are now tumbling head over heels in what might prove Mike D’Antoni’s death spiral, having lost 10 of their last 12 games. Meanwhile, the C’s have found their defensive mojo (they’re back to second in the league in efficiency) and may have Rondo back in the lineup as soon as tonight.

We should also keep our eye on the burgeoning Bill Walker-Kevin Garnett feud, the opening salvo of which capped the Christmas game.

QUALITY RANT
If the world does end during our lifetime, I want the last voice we hear before we all perish — probably beaming out from some underground bunker — to belong to the great Stephen A. Smith. Here’s his recent rant on the Knicks, where he bounces effortlessly from low-rumble bedroom seriousness to high-pitched hysterics.

As you’ll see, said rant is unofficially but aggressively sponsored by worldstarhiphop.com.

PREGAME ANALYSIS
The Knicks are a curious concoction. They’re a D’Antoni team without a great point guard, which has hampered their ability to get Amare into the regular pick and roll situations where he thrives. He’s only recently shown signs of breaking out. They’ve also got ‘Melo, who has wondered aloud in recent days if he’s shooting too much (although he torched the Celtics last game without Paul Pierce in the lineup). I wonder if the smart move might be to play into these New York insecurities: ballhawk whoever’s running the point, force the ball to ‘Melo and then force ‘Melo into the teeth of the strong side zone.

The 2011-12 version of the Knicks is also a much more efficient team on the defensive end than has been typical of recent Knicks teams. Based solely on numbers, the Celtics need to worry far more about how to score the ball against New York than how to stop them. Having a functional Rondo would be huge because his penetration (esp. in transition) has been effective at shifting New York’s defense and opening up shooters on the perimeter. To that point, having Ray Allen back in the lineup, even without Rondo, gives the Celtics someone to punish the Knicks if Pierce plays his recent role of facilitator again tonight.

The Knicks are the second fastest team in the league, but a back-and-forth game would be a mixed blessing for them. It would be playing right into Boston’s hands on offense: the C’s have the second best transit attack in the league (per mySynergySports). But the Celtics are only the 27th best team in the league defending in transition. Add it all up and we could have a shootout.

Either way, it should be entertaining. These two teams have played some of the better regular season games against each other the last year and a bit.

PREDICTION
Boston 103 New York 100

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

    I listened to Stephen A. and I thought I personally had done something wrong, and that I was responsible for the Knicks downfall. This man can unload frustration in an epic way.

  • ripsonics

    Stephen A. Is my hero.

    GO C's.. GET A DUBBLE YA (W)

  • I_Love_Green

    Lets get it tonight boys! Hopefully Rajondo comes back I miss that little guy.

    LETS GOOO CELTICS!

  • Ryan DeGama

    Looks like Rondo will play tonight. Could change but he's out there getting ready.

  • skeeds

    Two things about this game. Firstly. If we lose this, it's 100% our fault. These Knicks have so many problems we should destroy them.

    Other than that. I almost pity those guys, especially Chandler, for having to play in that situation. A lousy coach and a lousier management. It's truly an achievement to make such a lousy team out of those players. How on earth do you end up with the best pick n roll big man in the league, and no PG!?!?

    Well, at least it's fu watching Melo lose it as he gradually comes to realize what it's like to play for D'Antoni instead of George Karl. Especially the way the Nuggets are playing right now…

  • ripsonics

    REALLY LOVE THAT WE ARE WALKING UP THE COURT EVERY POSSESION…

    AWESOME HALF SO FAR. no energy.. Nothing. Awful half.

  • ElRoz

    Boston will continue to play inconsistent and struggle with averaged-good teams…tonight should be no exception…

    Wilcox only played a few minutes so far! Why?

  • Chris from Danvers

    Rough game all around. Knicks not being pressed. Celtics looking stiff. And these refs – though not necessarily the reason the Green is losing – are stiffs. What is going on with this game? Ugly!

  • I_Love_Green

    OH MY TURNOVERS

    Chris Wilcox catch the ball!!!

  • JCP

    I have to say, this has been one of the worst officiated games I've seen this year. At least they haven't biased with how terrible they've been… equally terrible for/against both teams.

  • I_Love_Green

    Please don't blow this….

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