Pre-Game News and Notes
The Knicks and Celtics will be facing off for the fourth and final time this season in
The Knicks will look to even the season series up at two, as the Celtics won
the first two meetings pretty handedly and the Knicks won in blowout fashion in
the most recent meeting. This is an important game for the Knicks as they
continue their playoff push, as they cannot afford to lose to teams below them
in the standings to move up. The Knicks will look to continue their four game
winning streak and here are some news and notes for them to do so.
-Player News and Notes
The Knicks will be extremely short-handed in the front court tonight. Tyson Chandler will not be with the team for the second consecutive game as he deals with a personal problem. The Knicks will also be without his frontcourt mate in the starting lineup in Amar’e Stoudemire. Stoudemire will miss tonight’s game for precautionary reasons; he has played 56 minutes in his last two games after being on a strict minutes limit throughout the season. One of Jeremy Tyler or Cole Aldrich will most likely find themselves in the starting lineup and both getting increased minutes tonight. Earl Clark will more likely find his way into the rotation tonight as the backup big man off the bench.
For the Celtics, Rajon Rondo will not be suiting up. Rondo played 41 minutes last night against the Indiana Pacers and will be held out. Rondo is still not playing back-to-backs for the Celtics, who have very little to play for so pushing Rondo makes little sense. The Knicks catch a break as the inexperienced Phil Pressey will take over the starting point guard duties.
-Match-Up of the Game: Carmelo Anthony vs. Jeff Green
With Rondo out, Green is the best player the Celtics have and will be the vocal point of their offense. Green has had some success in guarding Anthony this season as well. Anthony struggled in the first two meetings, both Knicks losses and did well in the third meeting, a Knicks win. The Knicks fortunes tonight will hinge on the performance of Anthony and if he can take advantage of his match up with Green tonight. Anthony has struggled a little offensively recently dealing with an illness and will look to get back on track tonight.
-Who Steps Up Tonight?
With Stoudemire and
out the Knicks are missing key pieces to their recent turnaround; an extremely
efficient scorer who has been a presence rebounding, and the heart and soul to
their defense. Who picks up the slack tonight for the Knicks will be the most
intriguing thing to watch tonight. Tyler
has played well in limited minutes, but is foul prone at times. Aldrich hasn’t
been a constant contributor at any point in his career, but has shown the
ability to rebound and play some solid defense when given a chance. Clark, who
was cut from the Cavaliers, is probably the x-factor tonight in the front
court. If he can give the Knicks anything tonight it will go a long way, but it
is going to be a group effort to replace the production of Stoudemire and Chandler.
-No Let Down
The Celtics are coming off a hard-fought game against the Pacers last night in
Knicks, on the other hand, are coming off a game that took them three quarters
to get going, but ended up winning comfortably. Tonight they have to come out
with the same intensity they did the fourth quarter Monday against the 76ers
and take the Celtics out early. The Knicks have a tendency to let teams stick
around far too long and it has hurt them throughout the season. Tonight,
especially without 2/3 their starting front court, they need to come out early
and take control. Expect a lot of Carmelo Anthony early and often as the Knicks
will lean on their leading man with key pieces missing the game. If the Knicks
can get on the Celtics early they can put this game away early as the Celtics
will be a little fatigued and without their best player, even post ACL-injury,