Atlantic Division rivals New York Knicks and Boston Celtics face off for the second time this season on Wednesday. Both sides have an identical 25-26 record and enter this game on the back of respective losses.
Fixture: New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics | NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Wednesday, April 7th, 7:30 PM ET (Thursday, 5 AM IST)
Venue: TD Garden, Boston, MA
New York Knicks Prediction
The condensed schedule is taking a toll on the New York Knicks who have lost four of their last five matchups, two of which were one-possession games. Tom Thibodeau's men are giving it their all but they just don't seem to be having the clutch gene needed to win close games.
Nonetheless, the New York Knicks will enter the fixture against the Boston Celtics with a clear head. The Knicks will draw inspiration from how dominant they were in the previous outing against the Celtics where they won 105-75. Mitchell Robinson played a crucial role in that game but he won't be available on Wednesday.
RJ Barrett has become a big-game performer for the New York Knicks this season. He managed 22 points against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday. He even managed 19 points and 11 rebounds in the previous matchup against the Boston Celtics. He'll be expected to support Julius Randle in key stretches.
Key Player - Julius Randle
The fact that Julius Randle is averaging 37 minutes per contest and hasn't missed one game for the New York Knicks this season is a testament to his motor. He's averaging 22.9 points, 10.8 rebounds and six assists per game this season. Randle can stretch the floor, but he's had a few tough shooting nights lately. Luckily, he can afford to attack the rim against a Boston Celtics side that is devoid of interior cover besides Robert Williams.
New York Knicks Predicted Lineup
G Elfrid Payton, G Reggie Bullock, F RJ Barrett, F Julius Randle, C Nerlens Noel
Boston Celtics Preview
The Boston Celtics showed signs of recovery after winning two straight games at home, but were humiliated by the Philadelphia 76ers last night. Luck also isn't on their side with Evan Fournier heading into the NBA's health and safety protocols just as he was hitting top gear. Fournier will not be available against the New York Knicks.
Kemba Walker just hasn't been able to shed off a slow start to his campaign for the Boston Celtics. He's shot 50% or more from the field in just seven games this season and has averaged 12.3 points across the last three outings.
Most fans expected the Boston Celtics to move on an upward trajectory following Marcus Smart's return, but that hasn't been the case despite him putting in a good shift on both ends of the court. Jaylen Brown has also slowed down a bit since the All-Star break, but he's still averaging 22.9 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists since the resumption of the season.
Key Player - Jayson Tatum
While other Boston Celtics players have slowed down in the second half of the season, Jayson Tatum has only improved his output. Tatum is averaging 25.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists since the All-Star break. He's improved immensely on the defensive end and can guard up to four positions. Tatum didn't feature in Boston's last matchup against the New York Knicks and will be hoping to play a decisive role in this one.
Boston Celtics Predicted Lineup
G Kemba Walker, G Marcus Smart, F Jaylen Brown, F Jayson Tatum, C Robert Williams III
Knicks vs Celtics Match Prediction
The biggest problem with the Boston Celtics this year is that they simply do not move the ball enough and settle for tough shots. This plays directly into the hands of the New York Knicks who are known for their defensive solidity more than anything else this season. The Knicks will also be more well-rested between the two teams and will be able to dominate the Celtics physically. Expect Randle and co. to dominate this tie.
Where to watch Knicks vs Celtics?
Local coverage of this matchup will be available on MSG Network and NBC Sports Boston. You can also live stream the same via the NBA League Pass.