Sunday, March 4, 2012

Knicks at Boston Celtics - What To Watch For

At 1 PM today the Knicks take on the Boston Celtics for their third meeting of the season. The Knicks have lost 12 straight games in Boston including the playoffs, so they'll be looking for revenge, especially after blowing a game there in early February.

An interesting subplot to the game is the Jeremy Lin factor. That game in early February was the start of Lin's playing time, but he played pretty poorly, and didn't come off the bench in the second half. The next game was against New Jersey, and Lin blew up for 25 points and 7 assists. So, in a sense, Linsanity might come full circle today if he has another good game.

Take the jump for some notes on what to watch for!

  • Pretty much any time Lin plays one of the best point guards in the league, it makes for an interesting matchup. But Lin and Rondo have some similarities - both are crafty at getting into the paint, they're terrific passers, and their jumpshots are suspect. In some ways, they're defended in similar fashions. However, Boston, like all other teams, will look to trap Lin hard on the pick-and-roll and rough him up a bit. With Rondo, the Knicks have always struggled to contain him, so we'll see if somebody like Shumpert, Smith, or Jared Jeffries get the assignment of guarding the sneaky little pest.
  • Each Knicks-Celtics game over the last two seasons has more-or-less followed the same script. The Knicks usually pounce first, get a sizable lead, and then get pushed around by the Celtics when they make a run. We saw it in both matchups this season, we saw it in Game 1 of the playoffs, we even saw it in the game last season where Amar'e's 3-pointer was half a second too late. The Celtics will always make a push and the Knicks can't afford to get nervous and choke. It's a mental test for New York.
  • The Knicks have struggled defending the 3-pointer this season, and that usually is not a good thing when you play the Boston Celtics. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce love nothing more than dropping 3-point daggers, and they love it even more against the Knicks and even more in the TD Garden. Those 3-pointers are usually big momentum-changers, so the Knicks need to beware and close out as best they can.
Gametime is 1 o'clock remember! This one is a big test for the Knicks -Boston is currently one game ahead of the Knicks in the standings, and they represent the type of playoff team (despite their struggles) that the Knicks need to prove that they can beat. Likewise, a win today would put the Knicks above .500 for the first time since January. Let's go Knicks!

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