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The New York Knicks (5-4) will pay a visit to TD Garden as they take on the Boston Celtics (7-2) in an old-school Eastern Conference rivalry matchup on Monday night.
The Knicks have survived on the back of their defense and have won three straight games heading into Monday. The Celtics, meanwhile, have not had any struggles adapting to the additions of Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis in the starting lineup and trail only the Philadelphia 76ers in the early conference standings.
Here, we will react to the betting odds and share our favorite picks and insights for the matchup.
The Celtics are sizable favorites against the Knicks despite losing three of four regular-season matchups against them a year ago.
|New York Knicks||+8.5 (-105)||+310||Over 220.5 (-115)|
|Boston Celtics||-8.5 (-115)||-400||Under 220.5 (-105)|
They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Well, the Knicks can look like the most beautiful or the most frustrating team in the league, depending on one’s perspective.
The Knicks know how to get open shots. The combination of Jalen Brunson’s craftiness, their brute size and strength on the inside, and their tempo in transition allow them to get looks from all over the court—the problem is that they have the worst field goal percentage in the league and have fallen from fourth a year ago to 15th this year in offensive rating.
R.J. Barrett has been sensational to start the year and averaged 22.6 points on 50% three-point shooting. Jalen Brunson (22.2 points, 4.3 assists) is down on his numbers from last season, while Julius Randle (17.2 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists) has broken out of his shooting slump and averaged 24.3 points over his last three games.
Where the Knicks excel is on defense and on the glass. They’re first in rebounding percentage, second in defensive rating, and second in offensive rebounds per game, meaning that they can go on scoring runs just by stopping their opponents and grabbing second-chance opportunities.
They’re also eighth in fast-break points per game and juxtapose a slow-moving halfcourt offense with the ability to fly down the court after defensive rebounds.
The Celtics have virtually no statistical flaws. They lead the NBA in net rating and only lost to the 76ers and Minnesota Timberwolves by a combined margin of eight points. They make the third-most threes per game, are fourth in effective field goal percentage, and can get production from nearly anywhere on the court.
Boston’s ability to play five out on one end and switch everything on defense makes them a nightmare to plan for. They’re also capable of getting stops on the defensive end and are fifth in rebound rate, meaning they don’t surrender a ton of second-chance opportunities.
Jayson Tatum, (27.7 points, 9.2 rebounds) is having another All-NBA season to start the year. Porzingis and Holiday have added elite defense inside and beyond the perimeter without sacrificing the spacing of the offense.
Where Boston is weak is off the bench. Sam Hauser’s 9.3 points lead the shock troops, but he and the other members of the second unit struggle to generate offense for themselves and also aren’t great on defense or on the boards.
Tatum needs to have a big night for Boston. He scored 30+ in two of his last three and four of his last seven games against the Knicks despite the visitors, as we mentioned earlier, finding success in last year’s season series.
The Knicks’ shooting numbers should improve as Randle and Brunson return to their usual form. That will help the on-paper difference, though Boston will still be much better with the ball in their hands.
Porzingis has a tall task dealing with Randle and Mitchell Robinson on the glass, especially since he isn’t one to go throw his body around against other bigs. Boston will need to gang rebound to help counter what New York is best at, which is crashing the glass.
All in all, we like the Knicks at +8.5. Their offense was playing well even when they couldn’t shoot, and it should continue to improve. If they can continue to push the ball in transition and do their usual work on the boards, they should be able to stay in contact with an explosive Celtics team.
Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.
In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.More info on Grant Mitchell
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