Celtics Won’t Need Luck To Get Garden Payback Vs. Knicks Thursday

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 1:58 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018 1:58 PM UTC

The Boston Celtics might be figuring things out after a slow start as they welcome the New York Knicks to Beantown in the TNT opener on Thursday night.

New York (8-17 SU, 13-11-1 ATS) at Boston (13-10 SU, 10-13 ATS)Thursday, 8 p.m. ET (TNT)Free NBA Pick: Celtics ATSBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Last week, this writer was torn between watching the Warriors-Raptors matchup in the opener of the NBA on TNT Thursday doubleheader or the first half of the Saints-Cowboys game. Well, that’s why they make remote controls.

This week, not that exciting of a TNT opener (opposite Jaguars-Titans) as the lousy Knicks face the underachieving Celtics, although Boston might be starting to turn things around. Was likely only a matter of time with all the talent on that roster. The Celtics are still +1100 third-favorites at Bovada to win the NBA title come June and +235 second-favorites behind the Raptors (+180) to win the East.

It’s the third of four meetings between the Celtics and Knicks and they have each won on the road. The last game was Nov. 21 in Boston and the Knicks snapped a three-game skid in the series with a wire-to-wire 117-109 victory. Trey Burke was the man with 29 points, 11 assists and six rebounds off the bench. Burke became just the third Knick since 1970-71 to record at least 25 points, 10 assists and five rebounds off the bench. Enes Kanter and Noah Vonleh both points points-rebounds double-doubles. Kyrie Irving had 22 points and 13 assists to lead Boston, which shot only 39.2 percent and 10-for-33 from deep (missing 14 of its first 15).

New York is 64-157 all-time in the regular season in Boston.

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Gordon Hayward put together his most complete game for us this season, finishing with a new season high of 30 points during our 118-109 victory over the Wolves. pic.twitter.com/9zPeJ2zTZp

— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 2, 2018

Here Come The Celtics?

Boston’s season-high winning streak is four and the C’s are one from matching that. They will be well-rested, too, having not played since Saturday’s 118-109 victory at Minnesota. Gordon Hayward had his best game as a Celtic with 30 points and nine rebounds. Irving had 21 points and nine assists, and Jayson Tatum added 19 points and nine rebounds.

Jaylen Brown, who has regressed this season, didn’t play for a third straight game due to a bruised lower back. However, he has practiced this week and expects to return. Don’t be surprised if Coach Brad Stevens starts bringing him off the bench; Brown had started each of the Celtics’ first 19 games this season, but you don’t mess with success. Marcus Smart has been starting in his place, and it’s working.

The Knicks were 110-107 home losers to Washington on Monday. The Wiz blew it open by opening the third quarter with a 28-8 run and New York would not be able to tie after that. Kanter had his 16th double-double of the year with 13 points and 16 rebounds.

Burke sat out with a knee injury, fellow guard Courtney Lee made his season debut off injury, and former first-round pick Frank Ntilikina didn’t play at all for a second straight game due to coach's decision. Ntilikina can’t shoot (33.3 percent) but is a fabulous defender and you’d think the Knicks would want to see plenty of the No. 8 overall pick from the 2017 draft.

  • Celtics are 20-6 ATS in their last 26 home games.
  • Celtics are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games playing on 3 or more days rest.

It’s New York’s only road game in a stretch of five, so I could see the Knicks somewhat going through the motions. Plus, a back-to-back begins Saturday. Take well-rested Boston for a Thursday NBA pick.

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