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Celtics Head to New York for Sunday Afternoon Matinee

Sunday, November 22, 2009
TV: Comcast SportsNet; Radio: 850 AM WEEI
Venue: Madison Square Garden

The Boston Celtics look to right the ship when they visit Madison Square Garden for a matinee showdown with the New York Knicks at 1:00pm.

The Celtics are coming off of a messy loss to the Orlando Magic on Friday in which they shot just 34.5 percent from the field and 10.5 percent from three-point nation.

The Knicks, winners of two straight, are in the second day of a back-to-back as they vanquished the still winless New Jersey Nets by a score of 98-91 yesterday in New Jersey.

Madison Square Garden hasn't served as a hospitable venue to the Knicks, as they have so far compiled just a 1-6 record at home this season. The Celtics on the other hand, are fairing well away from the TD Garden, as they've amassed a 4-1 road record.

New York is currently 11th in the league in scoring at 100.5 points per game, but it's main issue resides on the defensive side of the ball as they allow 110.2 points per game - good news for a Celtics team that scored only 78 points on Friday night against Orlando.

Projected Starters:

Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins

Knicks: Chris Duhon, Larry Hughes, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, David Lee

Health Check: For the Celtics, Glen Davis (thumb) and Tony Allen (ankle) are out.

The Knicks are healthy.

Keep It In Mind: David Lee is 12th in the league in rebounding, hauling in 9.5 boards per game.

Who's Hot: For the Celtics, Ray Allen shot 5-10 for 15 points against the Magic.

For the Knicks, Danilo Gallinari went 6-12 for 17 points against the Nets yesterday.

Who's Not: For the Celtics, Rasheed Wallace shot just 4-16 against the Magic, including an 0-8 performance from three-point nation.

For the Knicks, Eddy Curry shot just 1-5 against the Nets and finished with three points in 12 minutes of action.

Key Matchup: Kendrick Perkins vs. David Lee

Honorable Mention: Paul Pierce vs. Wilson Chandler

Skinny: Given the Celtics' latest string of games, they would do well to take care of business against the Knicks, preferably with authority. While this certainly is not a 'must win' game for the Celtics, a loss today could cause something of an uproar.

The Knicks don't seem to believe in defense, so the Celtics should have no trouble scoring the ball, despite coming off of a rough shooting night on Friday. The C's need to assert themselves early in the first quarter and not give the Knicks any hope or belief that they can stay competitive in this ball game. With Gallinari apparently serving as the Knicks' power forward, the Celtics should have a clear advantage inside, especially if Kevin Garnett elects to bring Gallinari into the paint.

Opponents are grabbing a shade under eight more rebounds per game against the Knicks, which bodes well for a Boston squad that's currently pulling down only 38.09 boards per game as an entire unit. If the Celtics can exploit their matchups down low and swarm the Knicks on the defensive side of the ball early, they should have no trouble walking out of MSG with a win.

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