Boston Celtics vs New York Knicks: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: Madison Square Garden in New York, NY

When: Friday, February 1st at 7:30 PM EST

How (TV/Radio): ESPN, NBC Sports Boston | 98.5 The Sports Hub

Boston Celtics (Away)

Head Coach: Brad Stevens {All-Time 252-208 | BOS}

The Boston Celtics are closing in on their aim of taking a spot in the top four of the Eastern Conference. With a record of 31-19, the Celtics are a mere game behind the Philadelphia 76ers for fourth in the East.

Despite their injuries as of late, the Boston Celtics have been performing up to standard. In their last ten the Celtics are 6-4, while maintaining a point differential of +6.3 and holding their opponents to 105.9 points per game.

While the Knicks are not tough competition in comparison to the Celtics, Boston surely has to be cognizant of the Knicks’ weapons if they want to pull off a win. They’ve already lost once to the Knicks this season. A loss that prompted questions of motivation and professionalism amongst the team. The fruits of their internal assessment will come full-circle against the Knicks.

New York Knicks (Home)

Head Coach: David Fizdale {All-Time 60-90 | MEM, NYK}

The New York Knicks are very clearly trying to be a part of the Zion Williamson sweepstakes come seasons end. With a record of 10-39, the only team worse than them in the league are the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Knicks have been dreadful in their last ten matches. They remain winless with an awful point differential of -8.5. While the Knicks can certainly score the ball, they allow more buckets than they can handle as opponents average 115 points per game against them.

It seems all the questions surrounding the Knicks are about what they will do next season. Will they be in the running for Zion Williamson or RJ Barrett? Are they possible suitors for Anthony Davis? But the real questions remain in how David Fizdale will organize his team. Brought in to right the attitude of the players in the Knicks organization, they are losing too many games for many lessons to sink in. Against the Boston Celtics, the Knicks’ resolve will be challenged.

What’s At Stake?

The Boston Celtics and New York Knicks meet again in a classic NBA clash between historic teams. In the all-time series, the Boston Celtics lead the New York Knicks 292-182.

A win for the Celtics would tie them for wins with the Pacers and Sixers, forcing a deadlock between the three for third place.

A win for the Knicks would tie them with the Chicago Bulls for thirteenth in the East.

Questions to answer

Can the Celtics maintain their interiors defence against the Knicks?

What do the Knicks have in Frank Ntilikina?

We are going to compare the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks in an attempt to see who has the advantage in this matchup.

The Celtics Had A Season High 16 Blocks Against the Nets

The Celtics usually come out of the gate guns blazing, especially with Kyrie Irving at the helm. Against the Nets Rozier started in place of Irving, which allowed for a more dangerous defensive lineup.

With Smart and Rozier as the primary on-ball defenders, a key difference was made compared to when Irving is on the court. Rozier and Smart are two players that can recover on the screen better than most in the league. Due to that, they are able to shade defenders into the direction of the help or recover on hesitance and make the defensive stop for themselves.

The Knicks are a jump-shot happy squad to say the least. The Celtics will be playing much more conservatively on defence, in order to force the Knicks into taking more difficult shots. While the Nets are a team that doesn’t attack the paint and get to the free-throw line often, the Knicks will surely challenge them inside through Kanter alone.

Ntilikina is Playing the Same Amount of Minutes as Last Season

Frank Ntilikina came into the league as one of the NBA’s hottest international projects. The Belgium-born point guard has incredible size and athleticism for the point guard position. While it is only two years into his rookie deal, there are questions as to what Ntilikina is worth to the Knicks.

Ntilikina is playing 21.3 minutes per game, compared to his 21.9 minutes per game last season. Considering the Knicks are not a playoff team, that is regression at its most apparent. He is also yet to show any range on his jump shot and makes most of his baskets either in the paint or from mid-range. In his second season, Ntilikina has stagnated.

It is difficult to say that it is over for Ntilikina with the Knicks, considering he is only 21 years old this year. His main asset is his defensive potential, but if he can’t defend at the level of a Marcus Smart – who can convert on at least a few of his jumpers from range – it’ll be a tough sell for David Fizdale to keep him in the rotation. It is rumoured that the Knicks are all in on Anthony Davis, time will tell if Ntilikina is a piece worth offering.

Boston Celtics Roster Notes

G Jabari Bird – 31 Oct 2018 – Out (Personal) – Bird is still on a leave of absence from the team until he handles his legal issues.

F Gordon Hayward – 28 Jan 2019 – Day To Day (Laceration) – Hayward left Monday’s (Jan 28) game with an apparent hand laceration and is available to return.

G Kyrie Irving – 28 Jan 2019 – Day To Day (Left Hip Strain) – Irving was ruled OUT for Monday’s (Jan 28) game.

G Marcus Smart – 28 Jan 2019 – Day To Day (Laceration) – Smart left Monday’s (Jan 28) game with an apparent face laceration but has returned.

New York Knicks Roster Notes

C Luke Kornet – 22 Jan 2019 – Out (Sprained Left Ankle) – The Knicks announced Kornet has a left ankle sprain with a bone bruise and will be re-evaluated over the weekend.

G Emmanuel Mudiay – 25 Jan 2019 – Out (Left shoulder) – The Knicks announced that Mudiay is dealing with a left shoulder strain. He will miss at least the next two weeks and will be re-evaluated after that time.

G Frank Ntilikina – 28 Jan 2019 – Day To Day (Sore Groin) – Ntilikina could miss one-to-two weeks.

F Kristaps Porzingis – 21 Dec 2018 – Out (Knee) – The Knicks announced that Porzingis is making progress and will be re-evaluated in mid-February.

Head-to-Head: Marcus Smart vs Tim Hardaway Jr

Marcus Smart

Shooting/Point Guard | 6-4, 220lb (193cm, 99kg) | Oklahoma State | Exp. 5 Years

8.2 PPG | 4.0 APG | 2.8 RPG | 1.8 SPG | 0.4 BPG | 1.4 TOV | .408 FG% | .365 3P%

Tim Hardaway Jr

Shooting Guard | 6-6, 205lb (198cm, 92kg) | Michigan | Exp. 6 Years

19.4 PPG | 2.6 APG | 3.5 RPG | 0.9 SPG | 0.1 BPG | 1.8 TOV | .392 FG% | .349 3P%

It will be an offence-defence matchup for the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks when Marcus Smart will be tasked with slowing down the ever-dynamic Tim Hardaway Jr. Smart is one of the best defensive guards in the league, but Hardaway has proven that he can score with the best of them. It will be an exciting match.

In their last match against each other, Smart wasn’t able to lock-up Hardaway per se. While he was able to force Hardaway into tough, contested attempts, the size difference was difficult for Smart to deal with. Smart also failed to be efficient in his 23 minutes, scoring only four points on 2-8 shooting. Smart will have to improve in both areas to limit Hardaway this time around.

Hardaway did not put up excellent shooting percentages in their last meeting, despite finishing the night with 22 points. A whopping thirteen of Hardaway’s shots were taken from behind the arc, of which he scored on an impressive six of them. Despite his shooting, Hardaway tends to settle for the easy three rather than creating better opportunities for himself and others. If the Knicks don’t want to be blown out again, Hardaway will need to showcase more playmaking.

Boston Celtics at New York Knicks Predictions and Odds

The odds makers have the Boston Celtics favoured over the New York Knicks by 13.5, with an over/under of 110.