Tonight, the Boston Celtics (18-21, 18-19-2 ATS) take on the New York Knicks (19-20, 18-21 ATS) for the second game in a row. After getting out to a 25-point lead in the last game, the C’s lost on a buzzer-beater from RJ Barrett. They became the second team this season to blow a lead of at least 25 points.
According to the online sports book Betonline.ag, the Boston Celtics are 7-point favorites:
- Point Spread: Boston Celtics -7
- Over-Under: 207.5 points
- Money line: Boston Celtics -290, New York Knicks +245
The injury report remains the same for the Celtics in this one. Payton Pritchard will be out in health and safety protocols, while Brodric Thomas is out with lower back pain.
For the Knicks, both Derrick Rose (ankle surgery) and Kemba Walker (knee) are out. In addition, Nerlens Noel is questionable due to conditioning and Evan Fournier (thigh) is listed as day-to-day but is expected to play.
Predicted Starting Lineups
G: Marcus Smart
G: Jaylen Brown
F: Jayson Tatum
F: Al Horford
C: Robert Williams
New York Knicks
G: Alec Burks
G: Evan Fournier
F: RJ Barrett
F: Julius Randle
C: Mitchell Robinson
Boston Celtics Breakdown
Boston suffered yet another disappointing loss last time out. Their loss to the Knicks was the first time they’ve blown a 20-point lead all season. They were previously 9-0 in those games. Regardless, with every loss the Celtics suffer (of this nature) people continue to question what is wrong. Something clearly isn’t working with the current core, and with a city as spoiled as Boston, that doesn’t fly. Boston expects winning and nothing less.
After the game, head coach Ime Udoka made a couple of questionable comments. When asked what he told the team after the game, the main quote people took away was, “step up, or do I have to stop all of our momentum and pace and call a play?” A lot of media members, fans, and Twitter fanatics took that snippet and ran with it. It was a part of a larger quote where he talked about “repetitive results.” The common response from the general public is that it’s a bit odd for a coach to threaten to call a play.
It’s been a puzzling season, to say the least, with inconsistency being the only consistent thing about this team. That being said, Jayson Tatum did manage to put on a great performance against the Knicks last time out. He had 36 points, six rebounds, and nine assists. On top of that, Robert Williams tallied seven blocks on the night. Although it’s hard to find positive takeaways from a game like that, those are two that stand out.
New York Knicks Breakdown
While the Celtics are down in the dumps, the Knicks probably feel as though they’re on top of the world. Barrett’s game-winner was a shot for the ages and they just pulled off a 25-point comeback. The real story of the night, though, was Fournier. He scored a career-high 41 points and was lighting up the C’s from three-point range. It was easily his best game of the season. In just three games against the Celtics, he’s scored 20 percent of his points on the season.
A weirder storyline from that game for New York was Julius Randle. During the fourth quarter, he gave the crowd at Madison Square Garden a thumbs down. This was apparently in reaction to the boos that the Knicks received when they were getting blown out in the first half. After the game, Randle said that this gesture was intended to tell the fans to “shut the f*** up.” While Randle would eventually apologize for his comments, it just adds to the intrigue of the Knicks’ season.
Looking at the grander scale of New York’s season, this recent stretch has been great for them. They are 5-2 in their last seven games, pushing them to 19-20 on the season. This places them in 10th in the Eastern Conference, propelling them above the Celtics. It’s a battle of underperforming squads.
It’s hard to pick out any keys to this game. It’s also impossible to make any predictions anymore. The Celtics are far too inconsistent and make the same mistakes over and over again. At this point, this team could play at any level on any given night and it wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Oddsmakers in Las Vegas must be losing their minds.
For tonight’s game, maybe expect the Celtics to come back with some fire? One would assume they’d be angry after a loss like the one from the other night. But again, as mentioned, it’s impossible to know what’s running through the minds of the Celtics anymore.
Boston Celtics 104, New York Knicks 100
TIP-OFF: 7:30 p.m. @ Madison Square Garden
RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub
TV: NBC Sports Boston