New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics
When: Thursday, Jan. 24, 8:00 p.m.
Where: TD Garden
Amare Stoudemire has played in nine games for the Knicks this season, and they have lost five of them. It’s not time to panic in New York, but they should be very concerned with the outcome in recent games. Stoudemire averages 3.4 rebounds per game. The lack of production is not going to get it done for the Knicks at all. If the Knicks want Amare to be part of this team, he needs to be ferocious on the boards. A player doesn’t need rhythm to attack the glass and make an impact. With Amare in the lineup, the New York offense seems to bog down, and lose fluidity. It is not all Amare's fault, but he takes the minutes of one of the shooters that spread the floor. Besides the rebounding, Amare’s biggest flaw is his ability to catch the ball cleanly. There are numerous times throughout the game where Amare should have an easy finish, but he’s not able to get the ball above his shoulders.
The Knicks last five losses have come against potential playoff teams. They’ve only beaten one team (San Antonio) in the last 10 games that has a chance to make waves during the postseason.
There’s going to be a huge buzz surrounding the game with the rematch of Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Garnett, but the issue appears to be dead for now. Both players need to be careful early on with the extracurricular activities. The officials will be watching closely to make sure the game doesn’t get out of hand. Still, it’s not likely to curtail Garnett from talking.
While the Knicks remain in first place in the Atlantic, Boston is currently one game under 500. In recent weeks, the Boston Celtics have been very streaky. They have had two stints of four losses in a row. Between those streaks, Boston has won six in a row. The Celtics beat the Knicks in the middle of the winning streak, and they’ll look to get back on track against New York.
This is a game where Amare has to play big. He needs to forget about scoring and getting touches. He needs to concentrate on the other facets of the game to make this team successful.
Tyson Chandler has been playing at an All-Star level, and he should be named to the East team before the start of the game. Tyson Chandler must improve his shot block defense for New York. Although he displays tough interior defense, Chandler needs to be more intimidating in the paint. He only averages one block per game.
Rajon Rondo is a great penetrator and likes to finish over the top of defenders. The Knicks need to discourage him from applying that offensive pressure. Rondo averages a double-double and he is always close to notching a triple double nightly.
J.R. Smith has provided great energy for New York all season. While he probably won’t be added to the All-Star team, Smith is a very valuable piece for the New York Knicks. Smith must provide scoring punch off the bench against the Celtics. He averages five rebounds and three assists per game to accompany his 16.7 points per game.
Paul Pierce has been a Knick killer with clutch shots, and he hit the biggest shot against New York in the first game. Peirce is still formidable at 18.9 points per game, but he won't make the All-Star team this year.
The Knicks will win if Steve Novak finds good minutes in the game. Novak is a great barometer for how the Knicks are playing. If he is getting open shots and the ball is moving, they are one of the best teams in the league.
Boston has to find a balance and consistency. Both teams need the victory for different reasons. Boston must start winning more games, while the Knicks need to beat a division foe. The game should come down to the last few possessions.
New York 93
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