clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Celtics look to close perfect home stand with a win over the Knicks

The Celtics host the Knicks as they look to finish a 5-0 home stand and win the season series over their division rivals.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks (25-37) at Boston Celtics (37-25)
Friday, March 4, 2016
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #63, Home Game #32
TV: CSN-NE, MSG, NBA-LP 757(DTV), 754(xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, ESPN NY 98.7, Sirius 215
TD Garden

Referees: Marc Davis, Tony Brown, Mitchell Ervin

The Celtics close out their home stand with a visit from division rival New York Knicks. The Celtics are looking for their 13th straight home win as well as their 5th straight win overall. The Knicks are looking to stop a 2 game skid. The Celtics are 2-1 in the series so far and would win the series 3-1 with a win here. The Celtics won the series last season 3-1.

The Celtics and the Knicks have been going in opposite directions since January 22. At that time, the Celtics were 22-21 and the Knicks were just half a game back at 22-22. Since then the Knicks have lost 15 of 18 while the Celtics have won 15 of 19.

The Celtics are playing in the first of back to back games with a game in Cleveland against the Cavaliers looming on Saturday night. The Celtics are 1-3 in the first of back to back games when the first game is at home and the second on the road. The Celtics are 21-10 at home while the Knicks are 10-19 on the road.

The Celtics remain in 3rd place in the East and are just 1.5 games ahead of the Heat who won once again against the Suns on Thursday night. The Heat's next opponent is the Sixers. The Heat have one of the easiest remaining schedules while the Celtics have one of the toughest and so they are going to have to continue to win, especially the games they are supposed to win, in order to stay ahead of the Heat. The Knicks have dropped to 13th in the East, 6.5 games out of 8th.

The Celtics will once again be missing Kelly Olynyk who is progressing from the shoulder injury but is still out. RJ Hunter was assigned to the Red Claws on Thursday and will probably remain there for this game. Cleanthony Early is out with a knee injury for the Knicks and Lou Amundson is expected to return from a respiratory infection.

Probable Starters

PG: Isaiah Thomas
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Jae Crowder
PF: Amir Johnson
C: Jared Sullinger

Celtics Reserves
Evan Turner
RJ Hunter
Jonas Jerebko
Terry Rozier
Tyler Zeller
Marcus Smart
Jordan Mickey


Kelly Olynyk (shoulder) out
James Young (calf) questionable
RJ Hunter (D-League)

Head Coach
Brad Stevens

Probable Starters

PG: Jose Calderon
SG: Arron Afflalo
SF: Carmelo Anthony
PF: Kristaps Porzingis
C: Robin Lopez

Knicks Reserves

Kevin Seraphin
Langston Galloway
Jerian Grant
Sasha Vujacic
Derrick Williams
Lance Thomas
Jimmer Fredette
Thanasis Antetokounmpo

Cleanthony Early (knee) out
Lou Amundson (respiratory infection) day to day

Head Coach

Kurt Rambis

Note: Defense should go to the Celtics. Both teams allow 101.7 points per game but the Celtics allow teams to shoot 43.7% while the Knicks allow 44.6% so the defensive nod should go to the Celtics.

Key Matchups

Jae Crowder vs Carmelo Anthony
Jae Crowder is earning a reputation as one of the top wing defenders in the league and he will need to put that to the test to guard Melo, who is averaging 21.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.2 assists. In their last meeting, Melo finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds. Jae needs to limit Melo on the offensive end and make him work on the defensive end as well.

Amir Johnson vs Kristaps Porzingis
The Knicks 7'3" rookie is averaging 14.0 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game and he has long since changed the boos he heard on draft night into cheers. His length makes him tough to handle and the Celtics will have their hands full, especially keeping him off the boards.

Honorable Mention

Avery Bradley vs Arron Afflalo
Afflalo is averaging 13.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists and is capable of putting up big numbers if not guarded closely. In the last two games vs the Celtics he has averaged 21 points and so Avery needs to stay with him to keep him from having another big game.

Keys to the Game
- 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 average just 98.8 points per game while the Celtics are the highest scoring team in the East at 106.1 points per game. Both teams allow 101.7 points per game but the Celtics have gotten back to their defensive roots in their past 3 games allowing only 92.3 points on 39.7% shooting. The Celtics need to play tough defense to limit the Knicks scoring.

Run and Move the Ball
- 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. They also need to keep the ball moving to find the open man and the best shots. They need to play team ball and not lapse into hero ball.

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 have to be the team that wants it more.

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.

Limit Turnovers - Sometimes ball movement results in too many turnovers. The Celtics have to be careful not to make careless and bad passes. They also need to keep their focus and not allow the Knicks to get steals that would lead to easy baskets.

Play Hard 48 Minutes
- Sometimes when the Celtics face teams that should beat, the Celtics let up and don't put out the effort that they do against the tougher teams. They need to start strong and give maximum effort for the full 48 minutes. No let up!

Home Game - To say that the Celtics are playing very well at home is an understatement given that they have won 12 straight on the Parquet. They need to keep up the effort at home and be motivated by the home crowd to run that streak to 13.

The officiating is always an X-Factor. You never know if a crew will call the game tight or let them play and the team has to be able to adjust to any officiating style. And you never know when a ref will have an agenda and call it one sided for one of the teams. We can only hope for an evenly called game where they let them play.

Official Report
Marc Davis

Marc Davis has been an NBA official for the past 17 seasons, working 977 regular season games, 55 Playoff games, and the 2007 NBA All-Star Game. Davis has officiated four Finals games during his career. In addition to his NBA experience, Davis has three years of CBA officiating experience and three years of collegiate basketball officiating experience in the OVC and TAAC Junior Colleges. He grew up in Chicago and is still active in the Chicago area.

Davis was investigated for threatening to whoop Allen Iverson's a** when AI complained about a call in a game in 2005, but was not suspended for it. The Celtics history with Davis goes way back also. In 2009, Davis was seen after a Celtics/Bulls game with his family all decked out in Bulls gear. It was Davis that Rajon Rondo bumped in a terribly officiated playoff game vs Atlanta and was ejected and suspended for it.

In a game three seasons ago against the Bulls, the officiating was terrible. With 12 seconds left, Pierce was trapped and fouled, including a busted lip, right in front of Davis with no call. Rondo was signalling for a time out right in Davis' face but they called a jump ball instead of calling the foul or the time out. Even Hubie Brown was talking about how bad the calls were the entire game and Hubie doesn't usually comment on the officiating. Two seasons ago, in a game against the Kings, Davis even got to the mild mannered Brad Stevens. Davis ignored obvious pushing and shoving by DeMarcus Cousins all night. At one point, Gerald Wallace pointed out an obvious foul by Cousins and was tossed to which Stevens pointed out that he could have thrown out Cousins all game and was tossed as well. He was decent in each of his games last season and, if anything, in a couple of the games, he gave the Celtics the benefit of the doubt. I wonder if his problem was with Rondo all along and with Rondo gone, he's feeling a kind of kinship with the Celtics. Stranger things have happened,

Davis' only game with the Celtics this season was a win in the preseason over the Nets. They are 7-3 in their last 10 games with Davis while the Knicks are 2-0 this season and 5-5 in their last 10 with Davis. His home W/L record this season is 33-16.

Tony Brown
Tony Brown has officiated 777 regular season games and eight- Playoff games in his first 13 seasons as an NBA official. Prior to joining the NBA, he officiated for four seasons in the NBA D-League and CBA and three seasons in the WNBA. During that time he worked the 2002 Finals, the 2002 WNBA All-Star Game and the 2001 CBA Finals. As with most refs, Brown has been good and bad in past games with the Celtics. In some the officiating is one sided and in others very good. Brown called Game 1 of the Rockets/Mavs playoff series and it was very one sided against the Mavs. The Rockets shot 45 free throws to 17 for the Mavs. Of course, he called the game with Joey Crawford and that could account for a lot of the controversial calls.

This season, in the loss in Dallas, the officiating was terrible. After they called 2 clean blocks by the Celtics fouls, Tommy yelled, "That's 2 strikes against them." Then after failing to call a Parsons elbow to Smart's head right in front of the ref, Tommy yelled "This is getting obnoxious." They were so bad they even got an "Oh, come on!" from Mike who rarely complains. Here are just a couple comments from among many from Mavs fans:

"Curious sequence there. Phantom foul on Bradley, Lee gets mugged - no call, and ticky tack foul on Lee"

"I'd be pissed if I was a Celtics fan at this officiating."

"I'll take the win but without the refs help, we lose this one."

Dallas shot 35 free throws to 24 for Boston. Brown calls 36.6 fouls per game with 44.4% called on the home team. He also called a game vs Chicago that was evenly called and the officials let both teams play. The Celtics are 1-2 this season and 5-5 over their last 10 games with Brown. The Knicks are 2-2 this season and 3-7 over their last 10 games with Brown. His home W/L record this season is 24-18.

Mitchell Ervin

Mitchell Ervin is entering into his first NBA season having officiated 12 regular season games as a non-staff official. Prior to joining the NBA, Ervin officiated in the NBA D-League for 4 years where he officiated in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 NBA D-League Playoffs, including the 2014 and 2015 NBA D-League Finals. Ervin also officiated the 2014 NBA D-League All-Star Game in his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Ervin’s resume includes 8 years of collegiate officiating experience, with 6 of those years in Division I having officiated in the Big 12, Conference USA, Big South, Sun Belt, Southland and Southwestern Athletic Conferences. During his stint in Division I, Ervin was selected to work in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Southland Conference Tournament, as well as the 2015 Sun Belt Conference Tournament in which he officiated in the conference tournament semi-finals. He also has one year and five years of high school officiating experience in New Orleans, Louisiana and Houston, Texas respectively.

Prior to becoming a professional basketball official, Ervin was a middle school physical education teacher, football, basketball and track coach. Ervin graduated with a dual Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Management and Exercise Physiology from the University of New Orleans, where he was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and a walk-on member of the 1997 – 98 Privateer basketball team.

The Celtics are 1-4 over his career (2 games in 2014 as a non staff referee). The win was against the Kings this season and Ervin had the misfortune of being on the crew with Tony Brothers and the game was terribly officiated all the way around. The Knicks are 1-1 this season and 1-3 over his career. His home W/L record this season is 22-16.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Celtics Blog Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Boston Celtics news from Celtics Blog