Remember when Celtics-Knicks used to be a marquee matchup in the NBA? That's certainly not the case anymore, but there's still potential for profit with picks. New York opened as a 1-point favorite on NBA odds.
Knicks Actually Competitive Lately
The Knicks (10-38) have followed a franchise-record 16-game losing streak by winning five of seven games. Frankly, if you are Knicks fan you don't like that as you want this team to finish with the worst overall record in the NBA and get the most ping-pong balls for this summer's NBA Draft lottery. New York comes off a 92-80 win over the visiting Lakers on Super Bowl Sunday. Carmelo Anthony had 31 points, making it the second straight time the Knicks have won in a game in which Melo had at least 30. They previously had lost six straight when he hit that mark. Anthony had 18 points in the third quarter alone, the same amount the Lakers had.
That Knicks-Lakers game made history because it was the first time those two flagship franchises had ever met at least 10 games into a season with both having a winning percentage below .300. Incidentally, that game was supposed to be shown on ESPN but with both clubs so lousy the network pulled it off -- the fourth straight Knicks game yanked off national TV.
The Knicks' projected starting lineup for this game tells you all you need to know about why the team is where it is: other than Anthony you have Jose Calderon, Lou Amundson, Jason Smith and Langston Galloway. Yikes. The Knicks have played the past three games without Amare Stoudemire and he's not likely to go Tuesday, either. Andrea Bargnani has played just one game all month due to injury and he's not returning Tuesday.
New York is 19-28-1 against the NBA betting spread and 20-27-1 'over/under.'
Boston (16-30) enters on a three-game losing streak and has failed to top 98 points in that stretch. The Celtics also played on Super Sunday, losing 83-75 at home to a Miami Heat team missing both Dwyane Wade and Luol Deng. The Celtics shot just 37 percent. Avery Bradley and Tyler Zeller each had 17 points to lead Boston. Power forward Jared Sullinger had started every game this season, the only Celtic to do so, but came off the bench Sunday because he was late to the team's walkthrough. Sullinger had seven points and three rebounds in 19 minutes. He should be back in the starting five here. Sullinger leads the team in scoring (14.0 ppg) and rebounds (8.0 rpg).
The Celtics are hoping that small forward Tayshaun Prince, who was acquired in the Jeff Green deal with Memphis, can play. He sat Sunday due to a minor hip injury. Guard Avery Bradley suffered a thumb injury Sunday but played through it. Second-year center Kelly Olynyk remains out with a right ankle sprain. He's not likely to return until after the All-Star Break. The Canada native was named to the World roster at the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star weekend, but it remains to be seen if he can play in that game.
Even as bad as Boston is, it's only 3.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference as of Monday. The Celtics are 24-22 against the spread and 23-22-1 'over/under' on NBA odds.
New York visited Boston on Dec. 12 as a 6-point underdog on NBA odds (total of 203) and won 101-95. At the time, that win ended the Knicks' 10-game overall losing streak. Anthony had 22 points and Stoudemire 20. Green led the Celtics with 28 points. Sullinger was scoreless, missing all six shots in 21 minutes. Boston still had Rajon Rondo back then too and he had just two points but 10 assists and seven rebounds. The Celtics played without Bradley due to an illness. And rookie guard Marcus Smart was forced from the game in the first half due to injury. New York has won two straight overall in this series and was 1-1 at home vs. Boston last season.
Before placing your NBA picks here understand that the Celtics are 0-4 ATS in their past four vs. the East. New York has covered four straight at home. The 'under' is 5-0 in Boston's past five after a loss and in the Knicks' past four overall. The 'under' is 5-1 in the past six meetings at Madison Square Garden.
NBA Free Picks: New York -1 at the Greek