The New York Knicks will be taking on the Boston Celtics on the road tonight at 7:30pm Eastern Time. The Celtics are listed as 10 point favorites.
Starting for the New York Knicks tonight will be Frank Ntilikina, RJ Barrett, Marcus Morris, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson. The Celtics will start Kemba Walker, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, and Daniel Theis. Fizdale is giving Frank the start, in hopes he locks down Walker. Frank guarded Walker this summer in the FIBA World Cup. In that game, Ntilikina matched up against Walker and ended up outscoring him 11-10. Barrett will be tested tonight against the gritty Smart who is a lockdown defender. The front lines will be the same as the last time these two teams matched up, except Theis will be starting at center instead of Robert Williams III for Boston. Theis is a good defender who rebounds well and can shoot at a high percentage. He can even step out and shoot the 3. The Knicks will have a hard time stopping the interior scoring of Boston while closing out on three pointers from Hayward and Theis, who both space the floor well.
Matchup Of The Night
Frank Ntilikina vs. Kemba Walker. These two played this summer and Frank won the battle. I don’t doubt that Walker will be seeking revenge. On the bright side, Ntilikina should have some added confidence as he knows he can win this matchup if he plays his best basketball. Considering Walker went for 32 points on 11/17 shooting, it was necessary for Fizdale to start Frank. I would expect Walker to go for 20, but I think Frank can contain him and not let him takeover the game like he did a week ago. Ntlikina will have a height advantage on Walker and it will be interesting to see if he posts up at all to utilize it. Frank may look to drive and take Walker to the basket as well, possibly resulting in Walker getting into foul trouble. It is clear the Knicks will need their French Prince to play like a King if the Knicks are going to win this game on the road.
Keys To Winning
Frank Ntilikina will need to contain Walker first and foremost. If Walker gets into the paint, it is likely Hayward and the rest of the Celtics will hit open threes. Next, the Knicks need to hold onto the ball, as they committed 24 turnovers in their last matchup. Finally the Knicks need to regain their shooting touch after a miserable game in Orlando the other night. To compete with this Boston team, New York’s bench will need to outscore Boston’s bench. This will happen by them containing Carson Edwards, along with Knox and Portis Jr. bringing the offense. It will be interesting to see how many minutes Allonzo Trier gets in this game, as he was a DNP in the last game.