Having lost 10 games in a row, the New York Knicks (4-20) come limping into TD Bank Garden to visit a losing Boston Celtics (7-13) team. Can New York scratch out a win with their Triangle Offense.or are the Celtics the obvious betting pick in this matchup? Let's take a closer look and find out.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 pm ET tonight at TD Bank Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. This game can be seen on the MSG Network.
No Camelo Anthony and No J.R. Smith
The NBA odds are just coming out as I'm writing this piece and 5Dimes Sportsbook lists the Celtics as a 7 point betting favorite and the total for the game is listed at 201. I'm a bit surprised that the Celtics aren't a bigger favorite, but then again, they are a sub .500 squad and J.R. Smith isn't much of a loss as we've seen a major reduction in his production the past couple of seasons.
This is another issue as Knicks head coach Derek Fisher has been using a variety of different lineups due to the fact that nothing has been working.
You can definitely expect Amare Stoudemire to start and Quincy Acy might also get the start. Although Acy's statistics are unappealing, he gives the Knicks a boost of energy with his high-flying ability and emotional style of play. As for Amare, he's been a solid player considering that he get's less than 30 minutes per game.
On the season, Amare Stoudemire is averaging 13.3 points and 7.5 rebounds in 25.8 minutes per game. When Stoudemire came to the Knicks, the fans were chanting "MVP", but injuries and the presence of Carmelo Anthony have steadily decreased his playing time. I look for Amare to have a big game tonight against the Celts.
Put Up Or Shut Up
One player that definitely showed promise in his rookie season, but has been a disappointment this season has been Tim Hardaway Jr. Hardaway Jr. was expected to be a key figure on the Knicks team this season, but has only managed 9.3 points in 17.9 minutes.
The shot hasn't been falling for Hardaway Jr. and it's been highly publicized that he thinks that Carmelo Anthony has been putting up too many shots and not being a team player. After his comments became public, Hardaway Jr. came up with a 23 point game against San Antonio. Look for him to come up big here. It's either time to shine or shut up and what better team to do play well against than the Boston Celtics.
The Boston Celtics have some young talent, but this is a very predictable squad with no real vocal leader that a team needs to be successful.
Rajon Rondo, who is now considered a veteran, is the only remaining starter from the Celtics 2008 Championship team, is still a leader on the court, but he doesn't look for his shot enough and there have been rumors that he's never been a well-liked player in the lockeroom.
On the court, there's no question of Rondo's basketball I.Q. and toughness. This is a 6 foot 1 guard that averages 7.6 rebounds to go along with 10.8 rebounds and 8.5 points per game. Rondo frequently gets triple-doubles and I think if he really wanted to, he could have a shot at averaging a triple double, but he has to play within the offensive scheme provided by his head coach.
Rondo is much more useful in dishing the rock to Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger, who are the go to guys offensively. Sullinger will give Stoudemire problems down low with his blue collar style of play and Jeff Green has one thing on his mind and that's scoring. Green leads the Celtics with 19.6 points per game. I don't see anyone on the Knicks that can stop Green on the defensive end if Green's shot is falling.
The Knicks have been getting behind by huge deficits and then have been coming back to make the games close. This is a team of of irony. For your NBA picks, look for the Knicks to cover the spread without a selfish Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith on the court, and look for them to take this game down to the wire with a chance to win..
NBA Pick- New York +7 at 5Dimes