Once again, the Celtics will be facing a mountain of questions going into their game Wednesday night against the New York Knicks. Boston is coming off a Kemba Walker-led loss in Charlotte Monday where the team seemed to play much better for the first three quarters, but then they fell back into their problems which have plagued them throughout this season. This was the part of the schedule where it seemed they could manufacture a rhythm by stringing together. Tonight, they will head back home to TD Garden in hopes of playing a complete game versus a team they should beat.
As mentioned, the Celtics looked much better Monday night, at least for most of the game. Brad Stevens even added that they played better than they did in the Toronto game. This, of course, was still not good enough to get the win, however, the game in Charlotte was not the worst loss in the world. Kemba Walker just took over the game in the fourth quarter and did not look back carrying them to the victory with 43 points on his own. Luckily for the Celtics tonight, there is no one on this Knicks team that can take the game over and have a Kemba-like performance.
The New York Knicks have been dreadful this season having a record of 4-12 and losing six straight games coming into this one. Last night, they lost a home game to the Portland Trail Blazers. Without their superstar Kristaps Porzingis, who will be out most of this season, the Knicks are just a shell of a basketball team not having the talent to compete in the league.
According to their offensive and defensive rating, they have the third-worst defense and fifth-worst offense in the league. Nothing is quite going right for this team and the tanking may have already begun prepping for next season with a healthy Porzingis. The Celtics are going to have to take advantage of this and pull off a convincing victory in front of the home crowd.
Games such as this are where Stevens can use multiple lineups trying a variation of different schemes to see which one fits the best. Hopefully, it will not be a situation where the Celtics will be playing from behind, and Stevens will get creative. Everyone says that eventually Boston will flip the switch, but the time is now or there may be real problems on this roster. A solid performance against the Knicks is just what this team needs.
The Celtics most likely come into this one healthy with the only question in the lineup coming from if Al Horford will play. He is questionable for this one with some left knee soreness. It does not seem like anything serious, but they may play it safe for tonight’s game. On the other side for the Knicks, they will be without Kristaps Porzingis, as mentioned, Lance Thomas, and Courtney Lee all out indefinitely.
For Boston, the starters will be in question up until tip-off. Monday night, Brad Stevens benched Gordon Hayward and started Aron Baynes with shades of last year’s lineup. However, Baynes then only played seven minutes with Hayward playing 31 on the night. Stevens could go back to his original starting five we have seen most of this year, or he will stick to Baynes out there against big Enes Kanter who wreaked havoc against the Celtics in these two teams first matchup. Fingers crossed the Celtics have a dominant performance from start to finish and hold off the critics a little longer.
PG - Kyrie Irving – Emmanuel Mudiay
SG - Jaylen Brown – Tim Hardaway Jr.
SF - Gordon Hayward – Mario Hezonja
PF - Jayson Tatum – Noah Vonleh
C - Al Horford – Enes Kanter
Boston – Al Horford (left knee)
Charlotte- Kristaps Porzingis (knee); Courtney Lee (Neck); Lance Thomas (knee)
How to Watch
Time – 7:30 PM EST
TV – NBC Sports Boston