NBA Picks: Knicks at Celtics Odds and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 4/19/2011
The New York Knicks know they let one get away in Game 1 on Sunday against the Boston Celtics, and they now face a potential 2-0 hole on Tuesday night because New York appears likely to be without point guard Chauncey Billups.
How the Teams Enter
New York is the worst defensive team in the playoffs as it allowed the third-most points in the NBA during the regular season. But on Sunday the Knicks were a different club, especially in the first half when they held Boston to just 39 points. That defense, and stellar play from Amare Stoudemire, had New York up 12 points at the break. The Knicks shot 54.3 percent from the field and 62.5 percent from long range in the first half, but just 32.6 and 20 percent, respectively, in the second half. The Celtics led for just 60 seconds in the second half until Ray Allen sank a go-ahead three-pointer with 12 seconds left for an 87-85 win. Still, Boston, the league's best shooting team over 82 games, shot just 43.8 percent on the night.
Knicks at Celtics Betting Story Lines
The Knicks got Carmelo Anthony to, you know, win playoff games. But one could argue he was the biggest reason they lost Game 1. He finished with just 15 points on 5-for-18 shooting, including 1-for-11 in the second half. He also committed a crucial offensive foul with 21 seconds left and missed the potential game-winning three-pointer. Down two, why the Knicks didn’t go to Stoudemire, who was 12-for-18 (6-for-7 in the fourth quarter) for 28 points is a mystery. Anthony was also called for his second personal foul just 1:28 into the game, forcing him to the bench for the rest of the first quarter. And he fouled Paul Pierce on a three-point shot with 5:54 left. Pierce made all three foul shots for a one-point Celtics lead.
Boston coach Doc Rivers said the key to the win was Jermaine O’Neal, whose importance is magnified with Kendrick Perkins in Oklahoma City and Shaquille O’Neal still out injured. Jermaine O’Neal had 12 points (6-for-6 shooting), four rebounds, four blocks and two charges taken in a little more than 22 minutes of action. O’Neal could play even more on Tuesday because Shaq has again been ruled out with his calf injury – he might return later in the series.
The big injury news for Game 2 is that status of Billups. He strained his left knee in the final minute of Game 1. Ironically, Jermaine O’Neal helped Boston again there. Billups said he felt his knee buckle as he went up for a layup with 1:20 remaining. He appeared to be fouled by O'Neal and went hard to the floor. One has to wonder if the Knicks would have gotten a better look at the basket on that final possession had Billups been on the floor. Coach Mike D'Antoni has said that "the probability" is that Billups won’t play. In his place, Toney Douglas will get the start, and Landry Fields will likely play a larger role in the offense (Fields was invisible in 19 minutes in Game 1). Anthony Carter also will get more time. Billups scored 10 points on 3-for-11 shooting with four assists in Game 1. Douglas hit a three-pointer with 39 seconds left that gave the Knicks an 85-82 lead. New York was 4-3 in games Billups missed since coming over from Denver.
Knicks at Celtics Betting Odds and Key Trends
Boston is a seven-point favorite with the total at 193, according to the most current NBA odds (the spread was six in Game 1). The lean on the spread, however, is almost two-thirds toward New York as of this writing.
Boston is just 3-13 ATS in its past 16 playoff games as a favorite of between 5-10.5 points.
The ‘under’ is 5-1 in the Knicks’ past six games.
The ‘over’ is 8-0 in Boston’s past eight games vs. teams with a winning record.
The ‘over’ is 6-2 in the past eight meetings in Boston.
NBA Picks: Knicks at Celtics Predictions
Well, if Allen tops 20 points again (he finished with 24 Sunday), then you have to like Boston’s chances. The Celtics were 18-4 in the regular season when Allen scored at least 20 points. I would jump on the Knicks +7 in a second if Billups were playing because there’s no way Anthony can be that bad again. I still think seven is just too many – Celtics win but Knicks cover. And take the ‘under’.
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