Game Preview: Knicks at Celtics

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The New York Knicks look to push their winning streak up to five games as they head to Boston for a matchup with the rivaled Celtics.

The Knicks are hot and the Celtics are fading, but things aren’t always as easy as they seem. New York has already dropped two games to this pesky team, and given how they let the Sixers hang around for most of the night on Monday, this one’s sure to be a battle too.

Part of the reason why the Knicks struggled to put away Philadelphia was because of the absence of Tyson Chandler. He’s away from the team for personal reasons, and while Chandler isn’t expected to be gone for long, it’s apparent that the defense doesn’t function nearly as well without him. Mike Woodson went to a smaller lineup on Monday, starting Amar’e Stoudemire at center and Carmelo Anthony at power forward, and it quickly became apparent that things just aren’t the same without their big man holding down the paint. Boston’s frontcourt isn’t monstrous, but Jared Sullinger is an immovable object, and will be tough to guard in the post should Chandler miss this one too.

The Celtics will have their own absentees to worry about should Rajon Rondo continue to sit out the second nights of back-to-backs. Boston lost a tough road matchup against the Pacers last night, and since the team already has their eyes set on this year’s draft, it’s hard to believe that they’ll risk their star player’s health. This would be a huge break for the Knicks, who have been repeatedly torched by Rondo in the past. Then again, who hasn’t?

The last time I covered a Knicks-Celtics game, Boston blew the roof off of Madison Square Garden in a 41-point rout. However, that was during the orange uniform experiment. Still, the superstitious side of me is nervous about tonight. Does anyone else want to cover this for me tonight?

Atlanta has the night off, so the Knicks will have the opportunity to gain a half of a game in the race for the eighth seed. The Hawks will host Milwaukee tomorrow when New York is off, so things could be short-lived.

Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. EDT. As always, TOK will have you covered.

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