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Boston Celtics (29-5) at New York Knicks (12-19)
Sunday, January 4
6:00 PM ET
Game #35, Road Game #16
TV: NBA TV, MSG, CSN-HD
Madison Square Garden
Game Thread l Chat

Knicks Blog
Posting and Toasting

After one game at home, the Celtics are back on the road to play the NY Knicks at Madison Square Garden. This is the third meeting between these two teams as the Knicks lost twice this season in Boston. The Celtics have won 5 in a row at Madison Square Garden.

The Celtics and Knicks are rebuilding the rivalry between these two storied franchises as the Celtics have once again claimed their place at the top of the league and NY is struggling to be relevant once again. Under new coach Mike D'Antoni and GM Donnie Walsh, they are moving back toward respectability. The Knicks are 7-7 at home and the Celtics have lost 3 of their last 4 games on the road and so the Knicks would love to add to the Celtics road woes with a win in this game.

The Celtics are hoping that the problems that plagued them on their recent road trip are over and hopefully they will continue their dominance over the Knicks with a big win in this game.

Probable Starting Matchups
PG:
Rajon Rondo vs Chris Duhon
SG: Ray Allen vs Quentin Richardson
SF: Paul Pierce vs Wilson Chandler
PF: Kevin Garnett vs David Lee
C: Kendrick Perkins vs Jared Jeffries

Injuries
None

Danilo Gallinari (back) out
Eddie Curry (knee) out
Tim Thomas (toe) day to day
Stephon Marbury (pride) out

Matchups to Watch
vs
Ray Allen vs Quentin Richardson
This is the first time that Ray will be matched up with QRich as previously he played the small forward and has developed quite a rivalry with Paul Pierce. Richardson averaged 21 points in the two games vs the Celtics this season and has been the center of media attention for his trash talking before and after games.

vs
Rajon Rondo vs Chris Duhon
Rajon Rondo has averaged 20.5 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists in the two games versus the Knicks this year. If Rondo is aggressive, the Knicks haven't been able to find a way to stop him.

Honorable Mention
Kevin Garnett vs David Lee
David Lee is a tough player who plays with a lot of heart. KG seemed to be on a mission in the game vs the Wizards and hopefully will bring that mindset to this game as well. If KG decides to take over a game there is not much that David Lee or anyone else can do. Lee will make KG work on the defensive end as well as he looks to score whenever given an opening.

Team Connections:
Jerome James and Ray Allen were teammates in Seattle
Doc played for the Knicks from 1992-1995
Tom Thibodeau was the Knicks' assistant coach from 1996-2000
Stephon Marbury and Kevin Garnett were teammates in Minnesota
Stephon Marbury and Ray Allen were traded for each other in 1996
Quentin Richardson and Eddie House were teammates with the Clippers
Eddie House played for Mike D'Antoni in Phoenix
Tim Thomas and Ray Allen were teammates in Milwaukee
Tim Thomas and Sam Cassell were teammates with the Bucks and the Clippers.
Marbury wants to play for the Celtics if he can manage a buyout from the Knicks.

Keys to the Game
Be Aggressive - The Celtics need to come out aggressively as they did against the Wizards and continue to set the pace of the game. The Bench must also be aggressive when they come in and not allow teams to get into the game.

Rebound - The Knicks have good rebounders and the Celtics have to show their desire to win the game by crashing the boards.

Limit Turnovers - The Celtics are still turning the ball over too much. They had 18 turnovers against the Wizards and are leading the league in turnovers per game. Teams have been taking advantage of the Celtics' turnovers and they must get them down to continue winning.

Defense - The Celtics won the championship by making defense their calling card. They must continue to stress defense in their game plan and the bench also has to become more of a defensive minded unit.

X-Factor
Focus
The Celtics have lost games on the road because they lose their focus. They have to figure out how to maintain the same focus that they have at home when they play on the road. When they keep their defensive focus and their focus on the team, they are very tough to beat.