I can't wait....
March 21st, 2011
New York,New York
Madison Square Garden
Ny Knicks: PG Chauncey Billups
Boston Celtics: PG:Rajon Rondo
Tonights Biggest Matchup:
The Boston Celtics are returning to the playoffs as Atlantic Division champions for a fourth consecutive season. The New York Knicks are aiming to just end a six-season postseason drought.
Their recent play is delaying that process.
The Knicks attempt to begin pulling out of their funk as they face the Celtics at Madison Square Garden on Monday night in the opener of a difficult three-game homestand.
Boston (49-19) has already clinched its 20th Atlantic title in franchise history, four more than the other four division members combined.
The Celtics are also tied with Chicago atop the Eastern Conference, two games ahead of Southeast-leading Miami heading into the final 14 games of the regular season.
New York (35-34) has 13 games left, and it appears to be on its way to reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2004. The team is seventh in the conference, one-half game behind sixth-place Philadelphia and seven ahead of Milwaukee in ninth.
The Knicks failed to create more separation from the Bucks on Sunday, losing 100-95 at Milwaukee while hitting just 38.6 percent of their shots. They've dropped five of seven and are 7-8 since acquiring Carmelo Anthony from Denver last month.
"They're frustrated, and that's good," coach Mike D'Antoni said. "We're trying to get this done. We'll get it done. It's just a matter of staying calm and knowing our problems and working through them."
One of the problems has been poor defensive play, and New York has show some improvement over the last three games. The Knicks have allowed an average of 99.3 points after giving up 117.3 over the previous three.
While the defensive issues appear to be waning, Anthony could provide a spark offensively after scoring 23 points Sunday. He was held to six points while making just 2 of 12 shots in a 99-95 loss at Detroit two nights prior.
The forward had 32 points for the Nuggets in a 113-99 loss at Boston on March 24 of last year.
The Knicks are in for a series of rough tests during this homestand, also hosting Orlando and Milwaukee. They've dropped 14 of 16 meetings with the Celtics, and nine of 11 at MSG.
New York's latest home defeat in the series came in heartbreaking fashion, as Paul Pierce hit a jumper with 0.4 seconds left while Amar'e Stoudemire's 3-pointer came just after the final buzzer as Boston won 118-116 on Dec. 15.
Boston may have dropped four of seven, but the team is allowing an average of just 81.8 points over the past six..
The Celtics are looking for another strong defensive effort in order to build on Saturday's 89-85 win at New Orleans after opening this three-game road trip with a 93-77 loss to Houston the previous night.
"The energy level changed," said forward-center Glen Davis, who had 20 points and eight rebounds against the Hornets. "We started doing the things we know how to do best. We changed the tempo of the game and we made them uncomfortable in the things they had been doing."
Pierce has made just 3 of 19 shots - 1 of 10 from 3-point range - to total 19 points over the last two games. The swingman is averaging 27.0 points over the last five visits to the Garden after getting 32 in December.
"If this wasn't a rivalry before, It is now"
Last edited by AmareForPresident; Mar 21, 2011 at 21:46.
Let's see how bi-polar our Knicks team really is. I predict a 105-100 win with Amar'e and Melo going 40-30.
The Knicks will blow the Celtics out by 30pts and then they will allow Ryan Hollins to have a 40pt 15rb game when they get blown out by the Cavaliers in a few weeks.
Worried about Billups on Rondo. I think we'll see plenty of TD. Billups is no longer quick enough to keep Rondo in front. TD is someone who can force pressure with close man to man D'. I'd expect to see Billups playing off; daring a poor shooter into attempting mid to long range attempts. If he hits - he hits, because with KG down low, Pierce on the wing & Allen spotting up for momentum 3's? We cant afford to let Rondo take Billups off the dribble, get into the paint; which leads to passing lanes; back door cuts, open shots & easy buckets.
I like Fields style of D' on an off the ball player in Allen. He'll have to hustle/scramble off the ball & fight through picks though. Our D' must rotate when Fields gets trapped...
Melo better be fired up on D when going up against Pierce tonight; expecting 100% intensity out of our star. No excuses.
Extremely worried about our low post D' against Kristic, KG & Davis. They'll murder us unless JJ, Amare & Turiaf fight with true heart. Cant board without 1st boxing out!
I think we will see just that combo and effect of TD and Billups. I wouldn't be surprised to see Billups and Douglas on court at the same time a good deal, either.
I expect and look forward to Melo punking RuPaul. Especially on D. In our "epic" loss to them earlier in season, I always thought that "if only we had Melo", this would be just the type of game he'd finish off; and play the part of Pierce for us, while one upping him, specifically in the type of last second winner Pierce got off on us bc we didn't have an athletic and quick enough player to smother him adequately.
We gotta contain KG, and really Davis. Hopefully Turiaf and Jeffries bring it down low and inspire Amare's D.
Good post. I also wouldn't mind having an Anthony Carter & Toney Douglas duo @ the Guard position for a good 3-6 minutes either; while our two starters in Billups & Fields take a breather. Carter still has the ability to give a team a spark (see the MIA Heat game).
I'd also like to see us go small with aggressive defense @ times with Carter, Douglas, Fields, Melo & Amare. Obviously the Celtics are not the type of team to risk a chance of lacking size & rebounding ability against; due to their overall size but I wouldn't mind that look for 4-6 mins against smaller teams. Maybe I'm crazy but just throwing ideas out there. I think our back court with Carter, Douglas & Fields could really apply pressure on the defensive side of the ball. We'd have 3-4 good offensive scorers on the court & Melo & Amare would have to fight for boards.
Chauncey can play Rondo guys. You have 2 Sag Off! It isn't like Billups will be playing tag along with him and neither should TD or AC.
Only matchup I see that swings his game is Melo vs Pierce. If we win this battle we have the upper hand.
Finally a game the will be on TV for me to watch, its been a while and its just not the same watching the game on the internet.
Really pumped for this game, its time to show us the potential this team can have, got to see a great effort on Defense and boxing out to have a chance though.
LETS GO KNICKS!!!!
We will win tonight. We're due a win, and who better then the best team in the East.
We always bring it against solid teams, and melo is pissed. Big night from Stat n Melo and TD power off the bench will get it done.