at Boston Celtics (19-4) at New York Knicks (16-9)
Wednesday, December 15
7:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #24 – Road Game #13
TV: ESPN, CSNNE, MSG
Madison Square Garden Probable Starters Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Landry FieldsShooting Guard
Ray Allen vs Raymond Felton Small Forward
Paul Pierce vs Wilson ChandlerPower Forward
Kevin Garnett vs Danilo Gallinari
Semih Erden vs Amare Stoudamire Boston Bench Mob
Avery Bradley Injured
Kendrick Perkins (knee) out
Jermaine O'Neal (knee) out
Delonte West (wrist) out
Shaquille O'Neal (knee,calf) out Knicks Bench
Roger Mason Jr
Kelenna Azubuike (knee) outTeam Connections
Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers played for New York from 1992-95 a Amar’e Stoudemire and Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal were teammates in Phoenix for 2007-09
Knicks coaches Mike D’Antoni, Phil Weber and Dan D’Antoni coached the duo during the 2007-08 season
Ray Allen authored one of the “50 Greatest Moments at Madison Square Garden” with his game-winning jumper in the 1996 Big East Tournament Championship
Knicks assistant coach Kenny Atkinson (1986-90) and Celtics assistant coach Kevin Eastman (1973-77) played their college ball at the University of Richmond. Both served as team captains and rank in the top 10 in school history in assists
Donnie Walsh acquired Celtics guard Marquis Daniels for the Pacers Donnie Walsh acquired Celtics forward Jermaine O’Neal for the Pacers
Celtics guard Nate Robinson spent four seasons with the Knicks 2005-10
Nate Robinson and Rajon Rondo were both drafted by the Suns and traded on draft night
Bill Walker was drafted by the Celtics and played 2 seasons in Boston
Danilo Gallinari and Celtics forward Paul Pierce were both participants in the 2010 NBA 3-Point Shootout which Pierce won and Gallinari finished in a three-way tie for fourth place
Mike D’Antoni coached Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo during 2010 training camp for Team USA
Kelenna Azubuike was teammates with Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo at the University of Kentucky for one season (2004-05)
Celtics guard Von Wafer played for Knicks Summer League team in 2008 Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Landry Fields
The Knicks have moved Landry Fields from shooting guard to point guard and at 6'7" he may give Rondo some problems on both ends of the court. On the other side of this, Ray Allen should have a slightly easier time with Raymond Felton guarding him. In the first meeting between these two clubs, Rondo notched a triple double with 10 points, 24 assists, and 10 rebounds while Fields notched his first double double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Semih Erden vs Amare Stoudamire
Semih will have a big test with Stoudamire playing center for the Knicks. Expect to see KG move over to guard Stoudamire while Erden takes Gallinari.
This is the second meeting between these two divisional foes. The Celtics have been clear that they don't consider the Knicks rivals, in spite of the history between these 2 storied franchises. In their first meeting, the Celtics came out on top 105-101 in Boston.
The Knicks have their offense in high gear and are averaging 107.7 points per game, second only to the Suns. But they are also allowing 106.6 points per game. The Celtics on the other hand have made defense their calling card. They score 100.7 points per game but allow only 91 points for their opponents.
The Celtics are on a 10 game win streak while the Knicks have an 8 game win streak of their own. The Celtics are still very short handed up front coming into this game with Shaq and Jermaine still out along with Perk and Delonte. The Knicks are almost at full strength with just Azubuike the only one out.
Keys to the GameDefense
- This will be the classic battle between offense vs defense. The Celtics must keep their defensive intensity throughout the entire game. They especially must guard the perimeter where the Knicks are second in the league in 3 pointers made. The Knicks are also 5th in points in the paint so the Celtics also have to take care of the paint as well.
Take it to the Hoop
- The Celtics have been outscoring their opponents in the paint throughout their win streak. They must continue to take the ball inside and not just settle for outside shots. Good things happen when they are aggressive and taking the ball inside. Take Care of the Ball
The Knicks lead the league in points off os turnover at 19.4. The Celtics must take care of the ball and limit their turnovers in order to limit the Knicks from scoring off of them.
- The Celtics have to continue to crash the boards in order to limit the Knicks second chance points and fast break opportunities. The team that wins the rebounding battle will usually win the war because the effort they put out on the glass also affects the other areas of their game.
X - Factors
There are two X-Factors in this game. The first is Bill Kennedy who still has a grudge against Doc for outing him as a homosexual. The Celtics are 2-1 so far this season with Kennedy as a ref. The one loss was the 2 point loss to the Mavs where the Celtics shot 7 free throws to 20 for the Mavs in spite of the Celtics dominating inside and on the boards. Second will be focus. If the Celtics come out focused and don't lose that focus, especially on the defensive end, they will win, in spite of all the injuries.