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Sunday, 31 March 2013 15:37

Game Preview: Boston Celtics at New York Knicks

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Boston Celtics (38-34, 13-23 Road) @ New York Knicks (45-26, 26-10 Home)

Madison Square Garden, 7:30 pm on CSNNE/WEEI Officials: Tom Washington, Mark Ayotte, John Goble Line: Knicks -6.5 (196.5) Get Tickets to Tonight’s Game at the TD Garden

In an inner-division battle between two injury riddled teams, the New York Knicks host the Boston Celtics at 7:30 PM EST. While the Celtics enter Madison Square Garden in the midst of a two game winning streak, the Knicks have won their last seven contests. Both teams will be without several marquee starters, so big contributions will be needed from reserve players. The teams have met three times this season, with New York taking the season series 2-1.

PROBABLE STARTERS:Boston CelticsPG: Avery Bradley SG: Courtney Lee SF: Paul Pierce PF: Jeff Green C: Brandon BassNew York KnicksPG: Raymond Felton SG: Iman Shumpert SF: James White PF: Carmelo Anthony C: Kenyon MartinINJURIESTyson Chandler, DOUBTFUL (Neck) Amar'e Stoudemire, OUT (Knee) Kurt Thomas, OUT (Foot) Rasheed Wallace, OUT (Foot)Kevin Garnett, OUT (Ankle) Rajon Rondo, OUT (Knee) Jared Sullinger, OUT (Back)WHAT TO WATCH FOR:Paul Pierce has stepped up his game since the Celtics lost Garnett, averaging over 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists over the last four games. Jeff Green has continued his post all-star break heroics, averaging over 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists over his last three games. J.R. Smith has been playing his basketball of the season recently, scoring at least 32 points in each of his last three games. In their seven game winning streak, the Knicks have beat opponents by an average score of 103 to 92.NOTESBoston Celtics Rankings: Off Rtg: 102.7 (24th), Def Rtg: 102.6 (4th), Pace: 91.6 (16th) New York Knicks Rankings: Off Rtg: 110.2 (3rd), Def Rtg: 106.2 (17th), Pace: 90.0 (26th) With an 8.5 game lead on the 9th place 76ers and just ten games remaining, the Celtics only need two more wins to clinch playoff birth.PREDICTIONWhile the Celtics have won their last two games, they have struggled on the road all season. The Knicks have been rolling recently, and I don't see why their success won't continue tonight. Teams have had no answers to J.R. Smith recently, so unless the Celtics can shut him down, the Knicks should win this game.New York Knicks 97, Boston Celtics 93Tonight: Celtics Post Game Show – immediately following the gameCall in: 347-215-7771 | Listen Live | Join the Celtics Blog Chat