When: 7:30 PM
Where: Madison Square Garden
Starting Lineups (Subject To Change)
SG: Paul Pierce
SF: Jeff Green
PF: Brandon Bass
C: Chris Wilcox
PG: Pablo Prigioni
SG: Raymond Felton
SF: Iman Shumpert
PF: Carmelo Anthony
C: Kenyon Martin
The Magic Number to clinch the Atlantic Division is Seven for our New York Knicks, which would end a drought of 14 years since a banner of any kind (sans retired numbers) was raised to the rafters.
After Randy Foye did us a solid and helped lead the Jazz to a win over the Nets, the Knicks now have a four game lead (five in the loss column) in the division. Plus, to have home court in at least the first round, the lead over the Atlanta is now 5.5 games (seven in the loss column).
This seven game winning streak, on the heels of that four game west coast nightmare earlier this month, has put the Knicks in the driver seat in two important races, and in the hunt in a third, That third race is trying to clinch home court guaranteed for two rounds as the #2 seed with the Knicks only a half game behind Indiana.
Tonight’s game, obviously important because beating Boston is always a good thing and getting a measure of revenge for losing earlier this season at home to the Celtics, is also important for tie breaker purposes. The Knicks with a win tonight would be 10-6 in the Division, and would force the Nets to go 2-1 in their final three division games to clinch the tie breaker.
So many numbers and facts about the standings, what about the game itself tonight you ask? Well the blue print to beat this current version of the Celtics, with no Garnett was laid out in the last meeting between these two teams.
Attack the basket, dominate on the boards and force the Celtics into turnovers. If those three things are done with the same success they were done with last Tuesday, it will be an easy Easter Sunday for the Knicks.
Now we all know that Paul Pierce loves playing at the Garden and could be motivated to sweep the road games like the Knicks did, but other than Jeff Green, I don’t know who else on that team could step up and help him.
With Melo scoring at a high rate (shooting percentage not withstanding) and J.R. Smith playing out of his mind, the Knicks have a one two punch that has been hard to stop the past two weeks. This team is playing as well as it did when it started 18-5 and tonight should not be any different.
This Celtics team is clearly different without Garnett & Rondo, but everyone has injuries as we all know as Knicks fans, so this would still be a nice win to get. Winning the season series over Boston would be a nice feather in the Knicks cap and going to Miami on an eight game winning streak would be nice as well.
Enjoy the game and Happy Easter!
Five Questions About Tonight’s Game
- Can J.R. score 30+ off the bench for a 4th straight game and 6th time in March?
- Will Melo’s shooting percentage get better?
- Will Paul Pierce get any help from his teammates?
- Will Kenyon Martin help the Knicks dominate on the offensive glass again?
- Can the Knicks help force the Celtics into another 19 turnovers like last game?