Boston Celtics @ N.Y. Knicks [Game 1 Preview]
Boston (7) @ New York (2)
The Knicks are solid 75.9% favorites over the Celtics in game 1. After 10,000 simulations, the average score was 101-93. The Knicks are favored by 7 points and covered that spread in approximately 53% of the simulations. There is a 56.2% chance the total combined score will be over 189.5.
Projected Stats (via AccuScore)
Paul Pierce: 16 pts ( 42% FG), 6 rebs, 5 asts
Kevin Garnett: 13 pts, 9 rebs, 1 blk
Carmelo Anthony: 29 pts (44%), 7 rebs, 3 asts
J.R. Smith: 19 pts (42%), 5 rebs, 3 asts,
New York took the season series from Boston 3-1. Three weeks ago, the Knicks beat the Celtics 108-89. While everyone is focusing on the Melo-Pierce matchup, the potentially more game-changing one will be the battle of the 6th men (J.R. Smith & Jordan Crawford). With very little front-court scoring other than Melo, the Knicks have to get offense elsewhere and J.R. has been that guy all season. You’re probably like, huhh? Crawford? Crawford doesn’t get the same attention as Smith, and rightfully so, but he, too, is very streaky. We’ll see how often they can get to the FT line, and which one can be the more efficient player.
Even though it seems like NY should run away with this series, this is exactly the type of series Boston would win. The possessions are more limited in the playoffs when compared to the regular season, and Boston’s defense will give NY trouble. I just think NY starts strong, and Boston will adjust appropriately.
For game 1 (and really the whole series), Boston has to run the NY perimeter players off that three-point line. The only way to disrupt the NY offense’s rhythm is by getting them to scramble; you do not want them to get comfortable at the arc. Look for the impact Avery Bradley makes on the NY ball-handlers. He’s a pesky defender with the propensity to cause turnovers and we’ll probably see him on both Shumpert and Smith.
For New York, there’s not much to say for the offense. It’ll depend on if the outside shots are going in, and that’s that. Their defense has improved as the season has progressed, and with Chandler hopefully being healthy now, it’ll be interesting to see if their defense can stay up to par with Boston’s.
Paul Pierce will go nuts this series, count on that. He’ll get his buckets at the most important parts of the game, making me think Boston might be able to steal one of the first two games. In his last 13 games against the Knicks, Pierce is averaging 27.8 points per game on 49% shooting from beyond the arc. Anthony is averaging 28.1 points in his last eight games against the Celtics.
One more thing – because of everything that’s happened this week, Boston will be playing with a lot of pride. I don’t think it’ll get them a win in the first game, but game two will be scary for Knicks fans. I can’t see Boston losing games 3 or 4 at home, not after this past week. That crowd won’t let them.
Offensive Efficiency: New York (3rd overall), Boston (22nd)
Defensive Efficiency: New York (15th), Boston (5th)
Effective Field Goal Difference: New York (13th), Boston (8th)
Free-Throw Rate Difference: New York (17th), Boston (21st)
Turnover Rate Difference: New York (4th), Boston (13th)
Offensive Rebound Rate Difference: New York (14th), Boston (30th)
Pace: New York (27th), Boston (20th)
True Shooting Percentage: New York (10th), Boston (12th)
(Numbers via of game 80)
Even though I think this series will be competitive, I think NY comes out strong in game 1. They’re at home, itching for some playoff wins, and I have a feeling that a whole bunch of their 3s are going to go in. AccuScore projects them to make 10/26 from beyond the arc; I wouldn’t be surprised if they got up to 15 makes. Boston will adjust and cut down those 3s as the series continues, but it’ll be raining at MSG tomorrow morning.
Knicks win 101-88.
Game 1 – Sat April 20 Boston at New York 3:00PM ABC
Game 2 – Tue April 23 Boston at New York 8:00PM TNT
Game 3 – Fri April 26 New York at Boston 8:00PM ESPN
Game 4 – Sun April 28 New York at Boston 1:00PM ABC/R Game
5 * Wed May 1 Boston at New York TBD TBD Game
6 * Fri May 3 New York at Boston TBD TBD Game
7 * Sun May 5 Boston at New York TBD TBD