We’re going to learn a lot about the 2013-14 New York Knicks tonight. Less than a week ago, the Celtics walked on to the Knicks home floor and embarrassed them by 41 points, a feat that only a Mike D’Antoni led Knicks team has ever matched. So how will the Knicks respond?
It would help if the Knicks didn’t fall behind early. This is a problem that has plagued them all year long, but it would do wonders for their confidence level if they simply hang in there throughout the first half. New York has been pretty inconsistent of late, either blowing teams out or getting blown out, save for Tuesday night’s win over the Bulls in which they relinquished a 23-point lead, so it would be nice to see them win a close one. However, it’s hard to be picky about how the team gets wins when they only have six of them on the season.
Believe it or not, the Knicks are only two and a half games behind Boston for the Atlantic Division lead and a home round in the playoffs. Even the lowly Brooklyn Nets have a win against the Celtics, making this game all the more winnable.
However, the Knicks aren’t going to go out there a beat the Celtics just because they want revenge. Most importantly, they’re going to need to control the backcourt. Last time, Jordan Crawford went off for 23 points, including six treys, and Avery Bradley was in full out pest mode, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds. The Knicks can’t let these guys get easy buckets, especially in transition. Jared Sullinger is going to get his because of his versatility, but somebody will need to keep him off the glass. Staying out of foul trouble will go a long ways too, although that’s sometimes impossible to do in Boston.
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