Knicks at Celtics Picks and NBA Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 1/24/2013
There was little doubt which NBA on TNT doubleheader game to preview this week between Knicks-Celtics and Clippers-Suns. True, the latter game could potentially be an upset for the Suns because the Clippers are now without Chris Paul indefinitely and also because L.A. begins a stretch of 10 road games in its next 11 overall. But I rather doubt it.
Knicks-Celtics, meanwhile, is very interesting mainly to see what happens between Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Garnett. Back when these teams met Jan. 7 at Madison Square Garden, the main storyline was involving a near-fight between Melo and KG. The future Hall of Famers were talking trash all game, and it got somewhat physical, with both earning technical fouls during the fourth quarter. If that had been the end of it, no big deal. But Anthony waited outside the Celtics locker room for Garnett and then stood by the Celtics’ team bus outside MSG hoping for a chance to confront Garnett.
Anthony should be thankful that security personnel interceded both times, or he could have faced a major suspension. As it was, Melo was suspended one game. Anthony claimed Garnett crossed the line with some personal comments about Anthony’s family in his trash-talking – KG is one of the NBA’s all-time yappers to be sure. Think the officials will have quick whistles for this game so things don’t get out of hand? Knicks players say they expect a “hostile environment” tonight. Uh, yeah.
Knicks at Celtics Betting Story Lines
Boston badly needs this one. The Celtics have dropped a season-high four straight and are back under .500 at 20-21. Boston had been a season-high three games over thanks to a six-game winning streak prior to the skid. The C’s simply couldn’t stop Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving in Tuesday’s 95-90 loss in Cleveland. Irving dominated Rajon Rondo with 40 points, becoming just the fifth player to hit 40 against Boston since 2010. Irving is the first to be on the winning side. He shot 16-for-24 (career-high in field goals made) and was one-point short of his career high. Rondo was a team-worst minus-10.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers threatened changes following Sunday’s loss in Detroit. I saw an interview last night, and Rivers said at least his team played better than it did against the Pistons, but the C’s are now just 7-13 on the road. Three of the four losses in this streak are to teams that won’t sniff the playoffs.
The Knicks saw a two-game winning streak end Monday night in an 88-85 home loss to Brooklyn in the final Borough Showdown of the regular season. Carmelo had 29 points and seven assists for the Knicks, but he missed all six shots in the fourth quarter and was just 11-of-29 from the field. Melo has scored at 20 points in 26 straight games, tied for third-longest streak in Knicks history. Monday was the first time in four games that New York didn’t hit triple-digits.
Injury-wise, Knicks backup point guard Pablo Prigioni is questionable with a toe injury after missing practice Wednesday. The Argentine has seen a big uptick in minutes with starting point guard Raymond Felton out since Christmas with a broken pinkie. Prigioni has been scoreless the past two games, not even attempting a shot. Felton, meanwhile, remains out Thursday but is targeting Saturday for his return. The Knicks are 5-6 in the 11 games he has missed with the injury. He was averaging nearly 34 minutes per game.
The only Celtic injury of note is to guard Avery Bradley, who continues to deal with sore ribs. Bradley sat out last Friday’s home loss to Chicago but has played in the two games since. He’s averaging just 6.5 points in those two games, but Bradley’s main contribution always will be defense.
That Jan. 7 game is the only time these teams have met this year. Boston won 102-96 as a 7.5-point underdog behind 23 points from Paul Pierce and 19 points and 10 boards from Garnett. Rondo missed the game due to suspension. Anthony had 20 points but clearly let KG in his head as he shot just 6-for-26. You could argue that is Boston’s best win all season.
Knicks at Celtics NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, the Knicks are xx-point favorites with the total at xxx. New York is 20-18-1 ATS (9-9-1 on road) and 19-18-2 “over/under”. Celtics are 14-24-3 ATS (8-11-2 at home) and 19-21-1 O/U.
The Knicks are 6-0 ATS in their past six Thursday games. Boston is 4-1 ATS in its past five against teams with a winning record. The Celtics are 1-6 ATS in their past seven after a loss. The under is 8-1 in the Knicks’ past nine after an ATS loss. The over is 12-0 in Boston’s past 12 against teams with a winning record. The over is 4-1 in the past five meetings. The road team has covered seven of the past nine.
Knicks at Celtics Picks and Betting Predictions
The Celtics better win this game or they are potentially staring at being a season-high four games under. 500 by Sunday night as they travel to Atlanta on Friday – although you never know what the maddening Hawks will do – and then host Miami on Sunday.
You won’t see Boston as a home dog too often – it has been vs. Memphis, Oklahoma City and San Antonio. The Celtics are 1-2 (and 1-2 ATS) in those three. I say the sense of urgency hits the Celtics, although I thought that Tuesday, and that Rondo dominates 39-year-old Jason Kidd and Prigioni (if he plays). I wouldn’t be surprised to see Iman Shumpert guard Rondo at times, but I still like the Celtics. Also the over.
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