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Celtics host the Knicks in Isaiah Thomas' home debut

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Celtics begin a 3 game home stand as they host the 10-win Knicks.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

at 
New York Knicks (10-45) at Boston Celtics (21-33)
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #55, Home Game #28
TV: CSN-NE, MSG, NBA-LP 755(DTV), 753(xfinity)
Radio:  98.5 Sports Hub, ESPN NY 98.7
TD Garden

Referees:  Zach Zarba,  Sean Corbin,  JT Orr


The Celtics return home from from their road trip with 1 win, 2 losses, and 3 new players.  They begin a 3 game home stand by hosting the New York Knicks.  This is the 3rd of 4 games between these two division rivals this season.   They will meet once more on March 27. 

The Knicks have just 10 wins, one of which came at the expense of the Celtics when they met the first time in Boston.  In that game the Celtics were missing Avery Bradley and Jeff Green and Tyler Zeller were the Celtics high scorers.  The Celtics won the second meeting 108-97 at MSG as the led from wire to wire.  Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger led the Celtics.  Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks over the two games with 21.5 points. 

The Knicks have the worst record in the league and lead the Sixers by 1.5 games for the top spot in the tankathon.  Boston is 2 games behind Brooklyn for the 8th spot in the East but they also own the 9th worst record, 11.5 games behind the Knicks and just 2 games back of the 6th worst record.  The Knicks have lost their last 7 games while the Celtics are coming off a big win over the Suns on the road. 



Probable Starters

PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Evan Turner
PF: Brandon Bass
C: Tyler Zeller

Celtics Reserves
Gerald Wallace
Jae Crowder
James Young
Phil Pressey
Shavlik Randolph
Isaiah Thomas
Jonas Jerebko
Gigi Datome

Injuries
Kelly Olynyk (ankle) out
Jared Sullinger (foot)  out

Head Coach

Brad Stevens



Probable Starters

PG: Langston Galloway
SG: Jose Calderon
SF: Lou Amundson
PF: Cleanthony Early
C: Jason Smith

Knicks Reserves
Shane Larkin
Alexey Shved
Quincy Acy
Tim Hardaway, Jr
Travis Wear
Lance Thomas
Cole Aldrich
Andrea Bargnani

Injuries

Carmelo Anthony

Head Coach

Derek Fisher

Key Matchups
vs
Avery Bradley vs Jose Calderon
Calderon is averaging 9.2 points, 3.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game.  He can get hot from outside and can also score inside if not guarded closely.  Avery has had the hot hand, averaging 23.7 points on 50% shooting over the last 3 games and hopefully that continues in this game.

vs
Marcus Smart vs Langston Galloway
Galloway has been playing fairly well for the Knicks.   He is their leading scorer, now that Melo has been shut down and Shumpert and Smith were traded.  He is averaging 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists. 

Honorable Mention

Isaiah Thomas vs Tim Hardaway Jr
Hardaway Jr is the Knicks second leading scorer at 11.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists off the bench.  He scored 15 off the bench in the last meeting between these two teams.  Isaiah Thomas has been hot for the Celtics and will look to continue that trend in this game.

Keys to the Game
Defense
- Playing tough team defense is the key to winning every game. The Celtics need to concentrate on getting stops and keeping the Knicks' offense off balance. The Knicks have only averaged 89.2 points over their 7 game losing streak.  The Celtics defense must not underestimate them, however. 

Set the Pace
- The Celtics need to run on every possession from start to finish. It seems that when they run they build leads and outplay the other team. When they slow it down, they fall behind and lose leads. They have to run and keep up the pace for the whole game.

Be Aggressive
- The Celtics need to be the more aggressive team. They have to be more aggressive in going after loose balls, in grabbing rebounds, in defending, and in going to the basket. They showed that aggression against the Suns and need to keep it up in this game.

Rebound - Much of rebounding is effort and desire and when the Celtics put out the extra effort to win the battle of the boards, they seem to play better overall. They have to grab rebounds to keep the Knicks from getting out on the break and to keep them from getting second chance points. 

Play 48 Minutes - The Celtics have to start off strong and play hard until the final buzzer.  They still tend to either start slow and then have to spend the rest of the game digging out of a hole, or they get off to a fast start and then let up and allow the other team to catch up.  They have to play hard for the entire 48 minutes. 

X-Factors
Home and Trap
The Celtics will be home after a 3 game road trip and should get a boost from the familiar surroundings and the home crowd.  They can't fall into the trap of playing down to teams with worse records.  They did that with the Lakers and with the Timberwolves and with the Knicks in their first meeting.   They have to come out playing hard  and battle until the end just as if they were playing the Hawks

Official Report

Zach Zarba

Zach Zarba has officiated 697 regular season NBA games, 27 playoff games and one Finals game during his 11 year career. Prior to joining the NBA, Zarba officiated in the NBA Development League for two years, where he was part of the crew that officiated the 2003 D-League Finals. He also spent one year officiating in the CBA and two years officiating in the IBL. Zarba has three years of collegiate officiating experience in the ACC, SEC, Colonial, ASUN, OVC and NEC Conferences. In addition, he has three years of high school officiating experience in New York. In a win over Cleveland last season, Zarba made 3 terrible calls down the stretch which prompted Tommy to say "Zach Zarba, every time we have this guy he makes things up." The Celtics are 0-2 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 with Zarba and the Knicks are 0-3 this season and 2-8 in their last 10. He is a homer ref with a home W/L record this season of 27-18.

Sean Corbin
The 19-year NBA referee has officiated 1,120 regular season NBA games and 54 Playoff games, along with the 2007 NBA All-Star Game, 1999 Japan Games in Tokyo and the 1996 Schick Rookie Game. Corbin spent the summer
of 2004 officiating basketball at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Corbin’s resume includes four years officiating in the CBA and nine years of collegiate officiating experience in the Big East, Southern, Southeastern, Mid-Eastern Athletic and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conferences. He also has four years of high school basketball officiating experience. Corbin has been good in most of his games with the Celtics without any bad games standing out until this season. In the game vs the Pacers, there were a lot of terrible calls down the stretch including an out of bounds call that was obviously wrong and gave the game to Indiana. The Celtics are 1-4 this season and 2-8 in their last 10 games while the Knicks are 0-3 this season and 2-8 in their last 10. Corbin is a homer ref with a home W/L record so far this season of 26-16.

JT Orr
J.T. Orr enters his fourth NBA season having officiated 162 regular season games. Orr’s experience includes five seasons and 177 games officiated in the NBA D-League. He also has four seasons of NBA preseason experience and has worked in NBA summer camps for nine years. In addition to his professional experience, Orr officiated collegiate games for 13 years, working the NCAA tournament in 2011 and including service for the PAC 10/12, West Coast and Big West Conferences and multiple small college conferences. He also has 15 years of high school officiating experience. The Celtics are 1-2 this season and 3-7 over their last 10 games with Orr as a ref. As with most refs, he can be good or bad. He has called a few one sided games where the Celtics can't get a call and others where the officiating is even. The Knicks are 0-3 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 games with Orr. His home W/L record this season is 21-17.