Rondo-less Celtics host Knicks

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics host the Knicks for the 4th and final meeting of the season with the Knicks chasing their 5th straight win.

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New York Knicks (25-40) at Boston Celtics (22-42)
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #65, Home Game #34
TV: CSN-NE, MSG, NBA-LP 759(DTV), 755(xfinity)
Radio: WBZ, ESPN NY
TD Garden
Referees: Scott Foster, Olandis Poole, Scott Wall

Game Thread l Chat

The Celtics host the Knicks for the 4th and final meeting of the season. The Celtics won two of the 3 games, winning once in Boston and once in NY. The Knicks have lost the season series to the Celtics the past 2 years and will look to avoid losing again this season with a win in this game.

The Knicks have won their last 4 games and are 4-6 in their last 10 games. The Knicks are just 3.5 games out of the playoffs and with 4 straight wins are making a push to catch Atlanta for that 8th seed. The Knicks are 11-20 on the road while the Celtics are 14-19 at home.

The Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games while the Knicks had Tuesday off. Rondo still isn't ready to play in back to back games and so Phil Pressey will more than likely get the start. The Knicks will reportedly be without two of their top big men as it has been reported that Amare Stoudemire will be out for rest and Tyson Chandler will miss the game for personal reasons.

Either the Knicks have decided to tank rather than to chase the 8th seed or they have decided that the Celtics won't put up much of a fight and they can beat them without their starting big men. I'm just taking a guess at their starters since Amare was still listed in their game notes as a starter at center.




Probable Starters

PG:Phil Pressey..................................... SG:Jerryd Bayless

Center: Kris Humphries

SF:Jeff Green ........................................... PF:Brandon Bass

Celtics Reserves

Joel Anthony
Chris Johnson
Phil Pressey
Chris Babb
Jared Sullinger
Kelly Olynyk

Injuries
Keith Bogans (personal) out
Vitor Faverani (knee) out
Avery Bradley (ankle) out
Gerald Wallace (knee) out




PG:Raymond Felton.......................................... SG:Iman Shumpert

C: Cole Aldrich

SF: Carmelo Anthony.....................................PF: JR Smith
Knicks Reserves
Tim Hardaway,Jr
Pablo Prigioni
Toure' Murry
Earl Clark
Jeremy Tyler
Shannon Brown

Injuries
Kenyon Martin (ankle) out
Andrea Bargnani (elbow) out
Amare Stoudemire (rest) out
Tyson Chandler (personal) out


Key Matchups
vs
Jeff Green vs Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo is averaging 28.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game and is a tough cover for any player. Jeff Green needs to make Carmelo work on the defensive end and he needs to stay with Melo on defense and make him work for every shot. Granted he won't be able to get under Melo's skin like KG used to, but he can defend and make him work.

vs
Kris Humphries vs Tyson Chandler
Chandler is averaging 9.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. Humphries will need to box Chandler out and try to keep him from disrupting the Celtics offense in the paint. Ok, since Chandler has been scratched, this may not be quite as key but Humphries has been playing very well and just may be key to the win.

Keys to the Game
Defense
- The Celtics need to especially defend the 3 point line as the Knicks have good 3 point shooters and can get hot from beyond the arc. The Celtics need to make sure they don't give up open looks from the outside.

Rebound
- The Celtics need to rebound as a team in order to keep the Knicks from getting second chance points. Much of rebounding is effort and desire and when the Celtics show both on the boards, it usually transfers the rest of their game.

Take the Ball Inside
- The Celtics need to try to get the ball inside and not settle for outside shots all game, especially if their shots aren't falling. Taking the ball into the paint will usually either give them an easy shot or draw a foul or an open man on the perimeter.

Don't Over Dribble
- The Celtics are at their best when they are moving the ball and not just dribbling out the clock. They need to share the ball and move it without a lot of dribbling, especially without Rondo in this game. Keep the ball moving.

Limit Turnovers - The Celtics need to take care of the ball and limit their turnovers as the Knicks will turn the Celtics turnovers into points.

X-Factors
Fatigue and Home
The Celtics are playing in back to back games. Will they run out of gas?
Can the Celtics get a boost from their home crowd?


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