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Celtics Take on Isiah's Knicks to Close out the Half

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New York Knicks (15-36) at Boston Celtics (40-9)
Wednesday, February 13
7:30 PM ET
Game #50, Home Game # 27
TV:  NBA LP ch 756, CSNHD, MSG
Sirius 140
TD Banknorth Garden
 
Chat  l  Game Thread  

Knicks Coverage     Posting and Toasting   l   Father Knickerbocker      

This is the third meeting between these two teams this season.  The Celtics have won both previous games including a 104-59 embarrassment for the Knicks in Boston back in November.   The Knicks are 2-8 in their last 10 games but are coming off a 1 point win over the Bucks.   The Celtics are 10-1 in the division while the Knicks are 4-5 in the division.  The Celtics have a 4 game win streak over the Knicks.   The Celtics have won 4 in a row and are 6-2 without KG.  
 
The last time these two teams played, things got very chippy with both Paul Pierce and Quentin Richardson getting tossed.  As he was going down the tunnel to the locker room,  Richardson was challenging Pierce to a fight.  Richardson is still at it with a quote in the NY Daily News  saying that the Knicks still aren't in awe of the Celtics.   Eddie House also stirred up some hard feelings by yelling at the NY bench that the Celtics were going to crush them during their last blowout.  The Knicks have plenty of motivation to come out with a strong game against the Celtics and the Celtics need to be ready for it. 
 
The Knicks could give the Celtics trouble with Perk and KG out.  Knicks have size up front with Curry and Randolph both packing a lot of bulk as well as height.    Scal isn't strong enough to hold off Randolph and so hopefully we will see Baby early in this one.  Powe will have his hands full with Curry as well.  Both will need to play very well and stay out of foul trouble. 
 
The Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games, coming off a win over the Pacers the night before.  Pierce played 41 minutes in that game and so fatigue could be a factor in this game.  It would be great for the Celtics to go into the All Star break on a 5 game winning streak.  The momentum would be great as they head out West right after the break.   With the history and rivalry between these two teams, the Celtics should have more than enough motivation to get a win in this game. 
 

 

Probable Starting Matchups
PG:  Rajon Rondo vs Fred Jones
SG:  Ray Allen vs Jamaal Crawford
SF:   Paul Pierce vs Quentin Richardson
PF:   Brian Scalabrine vs Zach Randolph
C:    Leon Powe vs Eddy Curry
 
Injury Report
  Kevin Garnett, Ab strain, out
Kendrick Perkins, shoulder, out
Scott Pollard, ankle, questionable
 
   Stephon Marbury,  Bone Spurs, out
Nate Robinson, respiratory infection, day to day
 
Key Matchups
  Vs 
In the last game between these two teams, Paul Pierce and Quetin Richardson both were ejected for trash talking.  The games between these two teams have always been chippy and there is no love lost between Pierce and QRich.  Pierce will need to concentrate on his play in this game and forget about the trash talk. 

  Vs 
Perk usually plays Eddie Curry very well.   If he is still out, expect Big Baby to get the nod against Curry in this game.  He has more bulk than Powe and that will be needed to keep Curry away from the basket. 

Honorable Mention
Power Forward.  Scal is no match for Zach Randolph.  If Doc insists on starting Scal, expect Leon to make an early entrance to keep Zach in check. 

Keys to the Game
No Let Up  It is the last game before the All Star Break.  The Celtics are playing short handed.  They have already beaten this team twice and the Knicks are easy to take for granted.  But, the Celtics need to come in and play hard from start to finish or the Knicks may take advantage of the let down and get a win.  The Knicks will be motivated to beat the hated Celtics, The Celtics need to match that and come out with a purpose and play hard for all 48 minutes.  They can't figure that this will be an easy game and come out flat or expect to coast.   

Crash the Boards   Randolph and Curry are tough inside and the Celtics are going to need to work to get rebounds and limit the Knicks second chance points.  Rondo has been rebounding incredibly well lately and that has given the Celtics a boost.  The Celtics were out rebounded by the Pacers and need to put out more effort on the boards in spite of not having their Perk and KG.  Much of rebounding is effort and we haven't been seeing that in a lot of games. 

Defense  The Celtics have been successful with KG and Perk out mainly because they continue to play tough team defense and they will need to continue that in this game as well.  Especially when they are short handed, they have to make the commitment to defend both inside and on the perimeter. 
 
X-Factor
Fatigue vs Rustiness
   The Knicks have been off since Saturday and the Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games.  The Celtics are short handed and so will be tired.  The Knicks will be well rested, but sometimes with that long between games, teams come out rusty.  It will come down to which team wants this one more.