Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks Preview and Pick

Boston Celtics -5 (41-10) at New York Knicks +5 (21-27) O/U 209 7:30 PM ET Friday February 6, 2009
By Jason Green at

Tonight the Boston Celtics travel to the Big Apple to play the New York Knicks. The Celtics are coming off a tough home overtime loss to the Lakers last night, which broke their 12 game winning streak. Will history repeat itself for the Celtics, as last time the Celtics lost to the Lakers and had a long winning streak they went into a tailspin for the next few weeks. The Knicks currently hold the 11th position in the Eastern Conference and need to start winning if they want to make the playoffs. The Knicks are a solid 6-4 in their last 10 games, but they have dropped 2 in a row, both of which were at home. The Celtics do not have the best record in the league any more and they lost twice to the Lakers this year. Will the Celtics get back on the horse and crush the Knicks or will the tough loss send them into another losing streak?

This season the Knicks are 14-11 at Madison Square Garden and the Celtics are 17-7 in away games.

Offshore Sportsbooks have the Celtics as 5-point favorites with a total around 209. The Celtics are posted at -220 as away favorites and the Knicks are posted at -180 as home dogs.

The Celtics come into this game after losing to the L.A. Lakers in Overtime last night 110-109. The high scorer for the Celtics in that game was Ray Allen going for 22 points on 9/21 shooting. For the game the Celtics shot 42/93 from the floor for a FG% of 45.2%. On D the Celtics allowed the Lakers to shoot 42/88 from the field for a FG% of 47.7%.

The Knicks come into this game after losing a tough game to the Cavaliers 107-102 on Wednesday night. The high scorer for the Knicks in that game was Al Harrington going for 39 points and grabbing 13 boards. For the game the Knicks shot 37/83 for a FG% of 44.6%. On D the Knicks allowed the Cavs to shoot 37/80 form the floor for a FG% of 46.3%. The Knicks saw LeBron James get a triple-double in that game and score 52 points.

At least the Knicks are exciting to watch, as they rank 6th in the league in scoring (104.3 ppg) and the Celtics rank 9th (101.3 ppg). Now, defense is a different story, as the Knicks rank 27th in points allowed (106.5 ppg), while the Celtics are the 2nd best defensive unit in the league ranking 2nd in points allowed (91.9 ppg). The Celtics are much better on the glass this season, as they have a rebound differential of +5.5 rpg, while the Knicks are at -3.9 rpg.

This season the Knicks are 28-20 ATS and the Celtics are 27-22-1. In terms of Over/Under games the Knicks are 21-27 this season and the Celtics are 22-27-1.

On the injury front PF Kevin Garnett and SG Tony Allen are day-to-day for the Celtics and C Eddy Curry, PF Al Harrington and PG Chris Duhon are day-to-day for the Knicks.

To have any chance in this game the Knicks have to play some D. In their last two games they have given up 61 points to Kobe Bryant and 52 points, including a triple-double, to King James.

The Knicks can score, but they can’t keep other teams from scoring more. Hey, that is the reason they are 6 games under .500.

The Knicks have to play good perimeter D on Paul Pierce (19.4 ppg) and Ray Allen (18.2) and not let these two shoot open jumpers beyond the 3-point arc.

David Lee (15.9 ppg 11.7 rpg) has to control the boards tonight and not let the Celtics have 2nd chance opportunities. The Knicks are a weak rebounding team and if they do not hit the glass tonight, they will get killed.

The PG match up is a good one between Rajon Rondo (11.3 ppg) and Chris Duhon (12.5 ppg). Both players can score and are averaging around 8 assists per game. Each has to keep the other from penetrating.

Al Harrington (21.1 ppg) will have to have a big night scoring, but it will not be easy being defended by Kevin Garnett.

The Celtics are better than the Knicks in pretty much every category and the Knicks hope that the Celtics are still thinking about last night’s loss to the Lakers, because if the Celtics bring their A-game the Knicks will lose their 3rd straight at home.

Jason’s Pick: The Celtics may be drained after losing last night’s overtime game and then having to travel to NY, but on the other hand, they SHOULD be motivated to punish the Knicks to prove to the world that their the best team in the NBA after being embarassed at home! I like the Celtics to cover the spread.