Jayson Tatum and the Celtics will try to rebound from a loss in the second half of a back-to-back against the Knicks. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)
- After losing to Philly, the Boston Celtics are right back at it against New York Wednesday night
- Both teams are playing with depleted frontcourts, but the Knicks’ perimeter defense has been elite all season
- Read below for a breakdown on the game and pick
Two teams battling for playoff spots in the NBA Eastern Conference face off against each other on Wednesday night (7:30pm ET) for the second time this season.
The Boston Celtics are 3–point favorites in the second game of a home back-to-back against New York at TD Garden. Boston lost on Tuesday night to Philadelphia, 106-96, while New York narrowly lost to the East’s best team, Brooklyn, on Monday, after a 125-81 drubbing of the Pistons in Detroit on Saturday.
Knicks vs Celtics Odds
|Team||Spread at FanDuel||Moneyline||Total|
|New York Knicks||+3 (-110)||+126||TBD|
|Boston Celtics||-3 (-110)||-148||TBD|
Odds as of April 6th
The Knicks won handily against the Celtics when they last met in January, 105-75, and should be in a favorable spot to do so again. New York is 9-5 overall this season when they have a rest advantage over their opponents and 10-3-1 against the spread in those situations.
Battle in the Backcourt
The moves that Boston made at the trade deadline were a bit curious, but made the identity the team wants to establish very clear.
The Celtics shipped off big man Daniel Theis to Eastern Conference competitor Chicago, and appeared content to move forward without much frontcourt depth outside of Robert Williams and Tristan Thompson.
Marcus Smart –> Robert Williams 💯
Celtics Rewind is presented by @tmobile pic.twitter.com/fZvB7zz251
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) April 4, 2021
Williams has flashed potential and his averages per 36 minutes played are particularly impressive this season. However, Thompson has been out of the lineup since March 16 and Boston has been 5-7 during that stretch. The Celtics have also been a bottom-third rebounding team without him on the floor.
The trio of Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum continues to power the team’s offense, but since the All-Star Break, it’s been difficult to pin down when they all will put it together on the same night.
WHAT A 1ST QUARTER for Julius Randle!
🔥 20 PTS 🔥 4 3PM 🔥 pic.twitter.com/feQpVIn2xH
— NBA (@NBA) April 4, 2021
Meanwhile, the largely non-household name combination of Immanuel Quickley, RJ Barrett, Elfrid Payton and Derrick Rose has done a mostly good job of supporting Julius Randle for New York.
Randle has undoubtedly been the story of the season for the Knicks — if not one of the best stories in the NBA. The all-around potential that he showed as a top prospect coming out of high school is finally manifesting itself with the Knicks, and that has opened the door for New York’s guards to find their comfort zone in Tom Thibodeau’s system.
Efficient night from No. 9.
22 PTS (7-13) | 4 of 6 from three pic.twitter.com/eHTzbS7dGD
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) April 6, 2021
Boston has done well to limit points allowed in the paint in recent games, but much of that has had to do with opponents’ confidence shooting three-pointers against them. The Celtics have allowed the seventh-most points from three pointers over their last three, and New York has shot 48% from beyond the arc in each of their last two games. The Knicks have shot nearly 44% from three-point range over their last four outings.
The Bottom Line
Boston is in the midst of a seven-game home stand, while this will be New York’s fifth road game in their last seven. Brown and Tatum can be prone to bouts of inefficiency for Boston, and the Knicks’ defense has been one of the league’s toughest all year. The Knicks’ hot shooting could could fade in a hurry, but by their own standards, they have shot the ball pretty well recently.
New York continues on without rim protector and top rebounder Mitchell Robinson, who is recovering from a foot injury, but neither team has been particularly imposing in the paint.
New York played well in its last two games and took a convincing win against a bad team in Detroit and was a buzzer-beater by Randle away from forcing overtime against the Nets.
Both teams rank in the bottom third in pace of play, and each of the last five Celtics games have finished under their projected point totals. Whether or not New York wins on Wednesday night, the Knicks should cover the three-point spread.
The Pick: New York +3 (-110)
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Nick Krueger has over a decade of experience in sports media, covering a wide range of events including two Olympic Games for Yahoo Sports. Other areas of focus for Nick throughout his career have included college football recruiting, NCAA athletics and Major League Baseball Spring Training.