The New York Knicks (0-2) will be playing in their home opener tonight at Madison Square Garden against the Boston Celtics (1-1) at 7:30pm Eastern Time.
The Starting Lineups
The Knicks will be running out a starting 5 of Elfrid Payton, RJ Barrett, Marcus Morris, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson. The Celtics starting lineup for tonight is Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Jason Tatum, Gordon Hayward, and Robert Williams III. Elf had a similar matchup last night when he was matched up against Kyrie Irving. Payton will need to contest Kemba’s shots and not let him get into the paint with ease. Walker is a bonafide scorer and will be tough for the Knicks to stop tonight. Barrett and Brown should be a really solid matchup with RJ’s best side of the ball being offense and Brown’s prowess being defense. It will be interesting to see who wins that matchup, especially when Barrett looks to score on offense. Marcus Morris will be facing his old team tonight and matching up against the Celtics’ young star Jayson Tatum who leads them in points, rebounds, and steals through 2 games. Morris is stronger and older than Tatum. Morris likely helped mentor Tatum last year and I would expect Morris to display his experience in the post and try and dupe Tatum into fouling him and falling for shot fakes. Randle and Hayward are both going to be heavily relied on by their teams to score, while both being exploited on defense. Randle will have a very hard time guarding Hayward in his matchup as Gordon is quicker, moves off the ball well, and can shoot the 3 ball consistently. Fortunately, Randle’s strength will help him on offense as he should be able to back Hayward down in the post and get some easy buckets. Robinson and Robert Williams III at center, will be a defensive matchup. Both centers will protect the paint and grab rebounds while adding a few dunks.
Matchup Of The Night
Marcus Morris vs. Jayson Tatum. Morris has been the Knicks’ best scorer, but only scored 11 points in their last game. He should know Tatum’s strengths and weaknesses very well and I would expect Morris to utilize that knowledge on both ends of the floor. Tatum has been the Celtics best player this season and is growing into a star. He will be very difficult for the Knicks to stop and Tatum is no slouch on the defensive end. The winner of this matchup, likely will be on the same side of the winning team.
Keys To Winning
The Knicks will need to cover the 3 point line, contain Kemba and Tatum, and have better offensive possessions down the stretch than they have the last 2 games. The Knicks will be tested tonight playing against a very good Boston Celtics team that is expected to land towards the top of the Eastern Conference.