The New York Knicks and Boston Celtics will be meeting for the third time this season as the Knicks look to record their first victory of the year over their rivals. The Knicks have played the Celtics at home and on the road and they’ll be playing with a chip on their shoulders after being embarrassed in front of the home crowd 114-73 the first time around. New York currently has a slight lead over the Celtics in the Atlantic division and can’t afford another loss at the hands of the Boston. New York is playing decent basketball as of late while the Celtics have struggled going 2-8 in their last ten games. These teams are in unfamiliar spots with their backs against the wall trying to gain ground in the Eastern Conference. Jeff Green leads the Celtics averaging 16.2 PPG. The Knicks have scoring issues of their own averaging only slightly more PPG than Boston, while relying far too heavily on Carmelo Anthony for scoring. Can the young Celtics pull off their third straight victory over the Knicks? Only time can tell. It’ll be interesting to see if bettors give the Knicks a little love this time around.
The Knicks Can Cover The Spread If…
The New York Knicks have been doing their best Jekyll and Hyde impersonation since 2014 began. They just haven’t found a way to maintain their consistency. New York was on fire to start the year with wins in six of their first seven games. That streak was then followed by another long five game losing streak, now nobody knows who they are or what to expect out of them. You can definitely expect Carmelo Anthony to shoulder the load. If New York wants to cover the spread however they’ll need someone to fill the void left by an injured Andrea Bargnani. Bargnani hurt his elbow after attempting his best Michael Jordan impression further complicating things offensively. Scoring comes at a premium for both clubs and New York needs production from J.R Smith and Tyson Chandler more than ever. This game could very well be won on the defensive side of the court the Knicks have to limit Boston’s opportunities in transition.
The Celtics Can Cover The Spread If…
The Celtics have been falling apart lately and they need Rajon Rondo to step up and stop the bleeding. Rondo was missing for the bulk of this season with an injury but now that he’s back the Celtics have to play much better basketball. When Boston wins it’s usually because they win the defensive battle against their opponents. They’ll have to win this battle against a New York team that also likes to slow things down and play defensively. Jeff Green has been solid, with Avery Bradley out until at least February Jared Sullinger will have to step up and have a big game. The Celtics have the edge over New York having already beaten them twice. They have to find a way to assert their dominance early on.
The Celtics have handled the Knicks in two contests this season but it’s always tough to beat a division rival three times in a row. The loss of Avery Bradley could hurt the Celtics and New York is hungry for a win as they barely trail the eight spot Pistons.
Pick: Knicks -5.5