TOK Game Preview – New York Knicks at Boston Celtics

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The New York Knicks look to extend their winning streak to five tonight when they visit the rival Boston Celtics. Here’s the lowdown:

Current Standings – New York: 42-26, 3rd in the Eastern Conference (13 games behind Miami, .5 games behind Indiana for 2nd), 1st in the Atlantic Division (2 games ahead of Brooklyn – 3 in the loss column). Boston: 36-33, (19.5 games behind Miami), 3rd in the Atlantic Division (6.5 games behind New York).

Injury Update – New York: Rasheed Wallace (out, foot), Amare Stoudemire (out, knee), Tyson Chandler (questionable, knee/neck), Kurt Thomas (out, foot) Boston: Kevin Garnett (out, ankle), Rajon Rondo (out, knee), Jared Sullinger (out, back), Courtney Lee (probable, ankle)

Previous Meeting - The Knicks snapped a losing streak in Boston that stretched back to the George W. Bush administration, posting an 89-86 victory back on January 24. The clinching play of the game was Paul Pierce fumbling a harmless pass out of bounds. It was fantastic.

What’s at Stake – The last time the Knicks had a winning streak against the Celtics was back on Monday November 24, 2003 when the Knicks beat the Celtics after defeating them just a week earlier. Shandon Anderson led all scorers with 28 for the Knicks. Frank Williams played 20 minutes off the bench. Mike Myers’ version of The Cat in the Hat was the No. 1 movie in America. Let that marinate for a little bit.

Key Matchup – Hi, welcome back. It’s as good a chance as ever for the Knicks to post a second straight win against the Celtics. While they’ve been arguably a better team without the injured Rajon Rondo, they’re also missing Kevin Garnett for tonight’s game. The Celtics have lost four in a row and six of eight. However, they did give Miami a close scare recently, although that was large in part to nonsense like Jeff Green dropping 43 points (he has 35 total in the three games since). But of course that doesn’t matter one bit. The Celtics could go with a five of Charlie Sheen, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Bruce Springsteen and a unicorn but if Paul Pierce is with them, the Celtics will probably still beat the Knicks.

But it’s not like the number one issue in tonight’s game is “Must shut down Paul Pierce”. The number one issue is to get a big enough lead late in the game so that it doesn’t come down to a few possessions in which Paul Pierce could wreck the game. Pierce could have 40, but if the Knicks are up 12 with a minute to go, then all is well. Conversely, Pierce could have four points entering the final minute, but if it’s a one or two possession game in the final minute, we might as well just start crying now.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @TurnOnTheKnicks for commentary during tonight’s game.

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