A pair of Atlantic Division rivals meet up on the parquet floor in the Big Apple. The Boston Celtics are on the road for their second game in as many nights as they visit the New York Knicks Saturday night. Boston was in action on the road Friday night north of the border as they faced the Raptors in another divisional tilt. New York was on the road but stayed within the city limits as they switched boroughs to face the Nets Friday night. The Celtics own a commanding 290-181 lead in the all-time regular season series and took three of the four meetings last year. That included a 121-112 win here in the last matchup on February 24.
Boston Celtics Play Third Straight Division Rival
Boston was on the road to face the Raptors in an early season showcase of two of the favorites in the Eastern Conference this season. The Celtics, in a bit of a scheduling quirk, play their third straight divisional opponent to start the season. When you play only 16 divisional games in an 82 game slate, getting three out of the way right out of the gate leaves you with only 13 over the final 79 contests. Whether that helps or hurts the Celtics will be determined down the line. Boston was 9-5 in the second game of back to back situations though their offense suffered in those situations. The Celtics averaged only 99.9 points per game in those games compared to 104 per contest in the regular season. Boston’s defense was still stingy, allowing 99.8 points a night in those games compared to 100.4 overall in the regular season. Boston was an impressive 28-13 ATS on the road last season and the under was 19-19-3 in their regular season road contests.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) October 18, 2018
The Celtics led by just five at the half before putting on a tough defensive performance in the second half to keep the 76ers in check. Boston outscored Philadelphia 58-45 in the second half, including 28-21 in the fourth quarter, to pull away and earn the victory. The Celtics overcame a rough shooting night as they hit 43.3 percent from the field, including 11 of 37 from three point range. Boston held Philadelphia to 39.1 percent shooting from the floor, including only five of 26 from three point land. The Celtics won the rebounding battle 55-47 and forced 16 Philadelphia turnovers in the win. Jayson Tatum led Boston with 23 points and nine rebounds in the win. Marcus Morris (16 points, 10 boards) posted a double-double while Jaylen Brown added 12 points, Terry Rozier (eight rebounds) had 11 and Gordon Hayward chipped in 10 points, five rebounds and four steals. Kyrie Irving struggled as he shot only two of 14 from the floor to finish with seven points, four rebounds and seven assists.
New York Knicks Look to Upend Celtics
New York switched boroughs from Manhattan to Brooklyn on Friday night as they visited the Nets in a divisional matchup. The Knicks now get to return home to play the second game of a back to back here, which could be a challenge given the way Boston has owned them recently. New York was only 4-10 in the second game of a back to back last season. They put up 104.1 points per game in those contests compared to 104.5 per game overall during the year. New York’s defense suffered as they gave up an average of 111.2 points per contest in those games: by comparison they allowed 108 points per game overall during the year. The Knicks were 21-20 ATS at home last season and the over was 21-20 in their games at Madison Square Garden. New York easily covered the line and went over the total in their home opener against Atlanta Wednesday.
🗣 "It's an 'us against the world' mentality." Coach Fiz speaks ahead of tonight's matchup vs. the Nets. pic.twitter.com/QSa9yqDPPJ
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) October 19, 2018
The Knicks had their hefty point total despite a pedestrian shooting night from the floor. New York shot 45.5 percent in the game, including a 12 of 33 showing from beyond the arc. The Knicks did connect on 24 of 31 free throws and forced 24 Atlanta turnovers that they turned into 29 points. Tim Hardaway Jr. led New York with 31 points to go with six rebounds and five assists in the win. Enes Kanter (16 points, 11 boards) and Noah Vonleh (12 points, 10 rebounds) posted double-doubles while Allonzo Trier, Mario Hezonja and Trey Burke each added 15 points. Rookie Kevin Knox chipped in 10 in the win off the bench despite a four of 16 shooting night from the field. For one night, at least, without Porzingis, all went well in Gotham for Knick fans. Rumors are circulating that the team is looking to trade Courtney Lee, who missed all of preseason and Wednesday’s opener with a neck injury. He was questionable for Friday’s contest.
- Knicks are 5-16 ATS in their last 21 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Knicks are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 vs. Atlantic Division foes
- Celtics are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 vs. Atlantic Division opponents
- Celtics are 16-5 ATS in their last 21 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Celtics are 41-16 ATS in their last 57 Saturday games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Knicks will try to impose their will with the fast tempo that they played against the Hawks. New York is going to have problems though because Boston doesn’t play that kind of pace. The Celtics make you grind, using up precious seconds on every possession before settling on a shot that, more often than not, you don’t like. Boston has their full rotation to put to use and unlike most teams, they can easily go 10 or 11 deep without a major drop in play. The Celtics take advantage of things through their defense and drop the Knicks here.
Prediction: Boston Celtics -9
Full-Game Total Pick
Boston was suffocating defensively last season, which is something the Knicks found out being a division rival. The Celtics are even more dangerous with having Hayward and Irving back at full strength. Once those guys get fully back up to speed, you have to think that Brad Stevens will see the offense take off. On the flip side, the Knicks are going to try and blitz teams into submission with their up-tempo style but they don’t have a ton of weapons offensively to call on when they need buckets. Can their new system work against Boston’s rock solid defense?
The under is 9-2 in the Celtics’ last 11 vs. a team with a winning straight up record, 4-1 in their last five against teams with a winning percentage above .600, 6-2 in their last eight overall and 6-2 in their last eight against Eastern Conference foes. New York has seen the under go 4-1 in their last five against teams with a winning record. The teams have stayed under the number in four of their last five meetings. Given the fact that both teams are playing in the second game of a back to back here, this one likely falls under the number too. Boston’s defense is too much for New York to push the pace and inflate the total.
Prediction: Under 211.5
Half-Time Side Pick
Boston has had the upper hand at the half in both of their contests so far this season. The Celtics led the 76ers 47-42 at intermission before taking a 53-49 lead over Toronto. While Boston lost to Toronto in the end, the fact remains that they’re facing a Knicks team coming off a loss to the Nets on the road. New York has a massive challenge trying to get things going in this one. Boston has the edge at the half as Irving, Hayward, Tatum and company take advantage of the lack of stars in the Knicks’ rotation.
Prediction: Boston Celtics -5 (-110)
Half-Time Total Bet
While the Knicks have played at a fast pace this season, that style doesn’t really work against Boston. The Celtics can keep rolling pieces in their rotation and make life miserable for the opposition. Even though this is a low number, the Celtics have stayed under this number in the first half of both games this season. New York will be hard pressed to put up more than the 49 points Toronto had Friday night. This one falls under the number at the half thanks to Boston’s defense.
Prediction: Under 102.5