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Celtics visit Knicks looking for 3rd straight win

Celtics visit division leading Knicks with both teams in search of 3rd straight win.

Chris Trotman


Boston Celtics (16-17) at New York Knicks (23-10)
Monday, January 7, 2013
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #34 – Road Game #18
Madison Square Garden
Referees: Tony Brothers, Dick Bavetta, Violet Palmer

Game Thread l Chat

Boston Celtics Tickets

Celtics visit division leading Knicks with both teams in search of 3rd straight win. Whenever these two teams get together there is always a playoff atmosphere, even in the preseason. They split the series last season with each team winning on their home court. They also split a pair in the preseason this year.

The Knicks lead the Atlantic Division with the Celtics in 3rd, 7 games back. The Celtics are still in the 8th spot in the East and are 2 games up on the Sixers who have dropped to 9th and half a game behind Milwaukee for the 7th spot. The Knicks last won the division in 1993-94 but look to end the Celtics 5 year reign over the Atlantic this season.

The Knicks are a very good home team with a 13-3 record while the Celtics have struggled on the road with 6 wins and 11 losses. The Celtics are 4-6 in their last 10 games and the Knicks are a slightly better 5-5 in their last 10. Both have won 2 in a row and are looking for their 3rd straight win. Both teams are coming off a come from behind win in their last game on Saturday.

The Celtics can once again get back to .500 with a win in this game. There are rumors all over about Danny working on a blockbuster trade and that's always unsettling for players. Hopefully it won't affect their play in this game as the Celtics need everyone to play well if they are going to come out on top in this one.

Probable Starters

PG: #9 Rajon Rondo .................................................... SG: #0 Avery Bradley

C: #5 Kevin Garnett

SF: #34 Paul Pierce .............................................. PF #30 Brandon Bass

Celtics Reserves

Jared Sullinger

Jason Collins

Jeff Green

Courtney Lee

Leandro Barbosa

Jason Terry


Chris Wilcox (thumb) out

Fab Melo (concussion) out

Probable Starters

PG: Jason Kidd ............................................ SG:Ronnie Brewer

C: Tyson Chandler

SF: Carmelo Anthony ............................................. PF:Marcus Camby

Knicks Reserves

Amar'e Stoudemire

James White

JR Smith

Pablo Prigioni

Chris Copeland

Steve Novak

Kurt Thomas


Raymond Felton (finger) out

Iman Shumpert (ACL) out

Rasheed Wallace (foot) questionable

Key Matchups


Kevin Garnett vs Tyson Chandler

This will be a battle between two tough defenders. KG has been playing very well and has played with renewed energy and purpose in the past two games. Chandler has been playing very well this season, averaging 12.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks per game. This should be a fun matchup to watch.


Paul Pierce vs Carmelo Anthony

This is a tough match up for both players but probably harder for Pierce given Melo's level of play this season. Both have come up big for their teams in this matchup in the past. Melo has averaged 30.8 points in their 4 meetings last season while Pierce averaged 35.7 points in 3 games that he played in. Melo has been playing at an MVP level, coming off a 40 point game on Saturday and Pierce will have to up his game to stay with him.


Rajon Rondo vs Jason Kidd

This will be an interesting matchup between the new guard in Rondo vs the old guard in Jason Kidd. These two point guards didn't meet last year as each missed one game vs each other. Kidd leads the league with 32 regular season triple doubles in his 19 seasons. Rondo comes in third with 15 in his 7 seasons. Rondo is another Celtic that gets up for the Knicks. He averaged 17.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and 13.3 assists in the 4 games last season.

Keys to the Game

- The Knicks have been playing good defense since Woodson took over as coach and the Celtics have shown in the past 2 games that they are still capable of locking teams down. The Celtics have to make defense their priority in this game especially because the Knicks can be a very dangerous offensive team. The Celtics must especially guard the perimeter as the Knicks are 3rd in the league in 3 point percentage at 38.8% and they aren't shy about shooting them. But they also have to guard the paint because the Knicks have several players who can take it strong to the hoop as well.

- The Celtics are still 30th in the league in rebounding with 38.6 per game. The Knicks aren't much better, coming in at 27th with 39.94 per game. That will change, though now that Amare is back and averaging over 10 rebounds per game. The Celtics have got to crash the boards as a team and win the battle on the glass if they want to win this game.

Be Aggressive - The Celtics must be the more aggressive team. They have to be aggressive in going to the hoop and not settle for jumpers, especially if the jumpers aren't falling. They must be aggressive on the boards and in going after loose balls and winning the 50/50 plays. The more aggressive team gets the calls from the officials and that will be important in this game. We know that the Knicks will be aggressive and so the Celtics have to match that intensity.

Play 48 Minutes - The Celtics must get off to a good start and play hard for 48 minutes in this game. They may have gotten away with playing 2 quarters against the Hawks, but the Knicks are too good to allow a similar comeback if the Celtics let themselves get down.


Team Effort and Officiating

If the Celtics play as a team like they did in the Pacers game and in the second half of the Hawks game, they stand a good chance of winning this. If they play a disjointed game as they did in the first half of the Hawks game, it could get very ugly. In the Knicks games I've watched this season, they got a lot of help from the officials. With this officiating crew, there's reason for concern over the officiating in this game. Hopefully they call a fair game in this one. It's hard to win playing 5 on 8.

Official Report

Tony Brothers

Tony Brothers is entering his 19th season as an NBA official and has officiated 1,093 regular season games and 61 playoff games during his career. Brothers made his first NBA Finals appearance during the 2011-12 season. He was a member of the crew that officiated the 1996 Mexico Challenge, 1998 Schick Rookie Game, 1999 McDonald’s Championship in Milan, Italy and the 2008 China Games. Prior to joining the NBA, Brothers spent four years officiating in the CBA, including three CBA Finals and a CBA All-Star Game. He has one year of collegiate officiating experience at the Junior College level. Brothers also has seven years of high school officiating experience in Virginia, including three state tournaments. As a way of honoring his late mother and to give back to his community, Brothers operates Sassy Properties, an organization dedicated to providing quality and affordable housing for disadvantaged families. He is also a board member of BillBro, an organization that provides scholarships for women and minorities. In 1994 he started a mentor program in the Tidewater, Va. schools.

There are several articles about what a terrible ref Brothers is and detailing his misdeeds. He has angered a lot of fans of just about every team because of bad calls, no calls, and one sided officiating. The Celtics are 1-1 this season with Brothers. He called a 115-85 win over the Nets in preseason and also the first regular season loss to the Nets. Brothers was responsible for calling Bogans' clothesline and choke job of Barbosa a regular foul. He also called a clean block a foul down the stretch which could have changed the outcome of the game. He most recently called the 1 point loss to Philly in OT. The Celtics are 4-6 in their last 10 games with Brothers on the court. The Knicks are 1-1 this season and 3-7 with Brothers in their last 10. His home W/L record this season is 16-10.

Dick Bavetta

Entering the 2012-13 NBA eason, Bavetta has officiated 2,546 consecutive regular season games and 259 playoff games, including 27 Finals games, never having missed an assigned game throughout his entire career. He was a member of the officiating crew that worked the 1989, 1995 and 2006 NBA All-Star Games, 1997 McDonald’s Championship in Paris, 1993 Mexico Challenge, 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona and 1990 Japan Games in Tokyo. Prior to joining the NBA, Bavetta was an official with the Eastern League (CBA) for nine years, and he has also officiated in the Rucker League, FIBA, Jersey Shore Basketball League, as well as both the Public and Catholic High School leagues in New York City. Bavetta attended St. Francis College in Brooklyn. He is a member of the New York City Catholic High School Hall of Fame. He added to his personal honors when he received the National Pro-Am Lifetime Achievement Award and also was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame.

There is no shortage of controversy surrounding Bavetta. He was singled out in Tim Donaghy's book for being a "company man" and carrying out league agendas in games. Bavetta also likes to keep games close and will often make a lot of calls against a team that pulls out to a lead to keep the game more exciting. After watching a game where Bavetta has officiated, it's very easy to believe Donaghy's claims.

He was left off the playoff roster the last two seasons and there were rumors of a forced retirement but here he is back again for another season. In his off time, Bavetta doubles as the Crypt Keeper. The Celtics are 2-0 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 games with Bavetta on the court. One win this season was in OT over the Magic in which the teams were allowed to play and both teams took 19 free throws. The other was a 92-79 win over Philly where the Sixers took 16 free throws to 12 for the Celtics and the refs again let them play. The Knicks are 1-0 this season and 8-2 in their last 10 games with Bavetta. His home W/L record is 16-6.

Violet Palmer

Violet Palmer, one of the first two female officials in the NBA, has officiated 798 regular season games and has appeared in nine playoff games over the past 15 seasons. Before joining the NBA, Palmer officiated in the WNBA during the league’s inaugural season, including the 1997 WNBA Championship. She has two years of CBA officiating experience and nine years of collegiate officiating experience, including women’s games in the Pac-10, Western Athletic, West Coast, Big Sky, and Big West Conferences, as well as five NCAA Final Fours and two NCAA Championship games. Before becoming an official, Palmer was a successful basketball player both at the collegiate and high school levels. She was a four-year letter winner at Cal. Poly Pomona, where her team won the NCAA Division II Finals in 1985 and 1986. In addition, she was on the basketball team at Compton High School. Off the court, Palmer is a CCA Manual Mechanics committee member. She also is involved with the City of Los Angeles Youth Referee Clinic in her hometown of Los Angeles. Palmer also acts as a coordinator for both the West Coast Conference and the Pac-10 Conference.

At one time Violet was the worst ref in the league. In one game Cedric Maxwell was moved to urge her to go back into the kitchen because her calls were so bad. She has had Tommy close to exploding many times as well. She's improved a lot over the years and is no longer the worst ref in the league (that honor goes to Bennett Salvatore) but she's still not a very good ref. Although, after getting a hug from Pierce after he ran into her in a win over the Pacers last season, the Celtics took 20 more free throws than the Pacers. The Celtics are 0-2 this season and 6-4 over their last 10 games with Violet on the court. The Knicks are 1-0 this season and 5-5 over their last 10 with Violet. Her home W/L record this season is 16-6.

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