New York at Boston
7:00 P.M. ET
Boston: 100.6 points/100 possessions (22nd)
New York: 107.5 points/100 possessions (3rd)
Boston: 99.6 points allowed/100 possessions (5th)
New York: 103.1 points allowed/100 possessions (15th)
Probable Knicks Starters:
Raymond Felton (PG), Pablo Prigioni (SG), Iman Shumpert (SF), Carmelo Anthony (PF), and Kenyon Martin (C)
View From The Opposing Bench: KnickerBlogger
Thumbnail: The Celtics must be happy to be home after their rough road trip. They have lost their last five away games. In addition, Boston is riding a four-game losing streak overall, both of which are the worst current losing skids among projected playoff teams. The Celtics now shift their focus from the Western Conference to their very own division. They will play the Knicks twice in the next six days for the first time since 1997. Tuesday’s contest against the Knicks is the beginning of a 13-game stretch in which Boston will face 12 Eastern Conference opponents to finish the season.
However, the absence of Kevin Garnett, who is out for up to two weeks with inflammation of the ankle, might prevent the Celtics from moving up the standings. Over the last four seasons, Boston has played .500 basketball in 34 games without the Big Ticket. His importance to the 2012-13 Celtics might be even greater than it has been in the past because of how much he has had to shoulder the load. With Garnett just 34 minutes away from passing John Stockton for the sixth-most minutes played in NBA history, this rest is vital for him.
The Celtics will have to play without Garnett for the time being, so Paul Pierce will now have to carry more of the scoring. Coming off one of his most effective shooting performances this season, Pierce will have to continue his impressive scoring at 35 years old to give the injury-riddled Celtics a chance against the old and broken-down Knicks. In 2012-13, the Celtics are 10-5 when he scores at least 25 points and are 15-5 when he makes at least three 3-pointers. Pierce’s best career scoring average against an Eastern Conference team is his 23.5 points per game against the Knicks. This is an important night for him to surpass that.
Prediction: Pierce scores 25 points and makes at least three 3-pointers to give the Celtics their second win of the season against the Knicks.
Celtics 96, Knicks 95
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