The Knicks Without Their Leader, Marcus Morris Sr., Will Look To Takedown The Boston Celtics

image via clutch points

The New York Knicks (4-15) will be facing the Boston Celtics (13-5) at 3:30pm Eastern Time, at home in Madison Square Garden. The Celtics who lead the Atlantic Division, are listed as 8 point favorites, despite being without Gordon Hayward.

Starting Lineups- With 2 Attributes That Will Be Impactful Tonight (Strength, Weakness)

PositionNew York KnicksBoston Celtics
PGFrank Ntilikina (defense/ball security, shooting)Kemba Walker (scoring, defense/size)
SGRJ Barrett (driving, perimeter defense/shooting)Marcus Smart (defense, shooting from inside the arc)
SFKevin Knox (3 point shooting, defense)Jaylen Brown (defense, fouling)
PFJulius Randle (interior scoring, turnovers)Jayson Tatum (scoring/defense, turnovers/shooting from inside the arc)
CTaj Gibson (rebounding, fouling)Daniel Theis (interior defense/rebounding, shooting)

Matchup Of The Night

Kevin Knox vs. Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown is a tremendous 3 and D player, that fits perfectly in today’s NBA. Brown owns a solid defensive rating of 102.2 and averages 1.3 steals per game. Brown has really stepped up this season for Boston, posting career highs in points (18.7 per game), rebounds (7.3 per game), and assists (2.1 per game). Brown is incredibly efficient, only jumping 0.9% in usage rate this season, with a 22.4 rate. Although Brown doesn’t have many flaws in his well rounded game, he does average 3.1 personal fouls per game and only shoots 72.9% from the foul line, which is a career high for him. Brown loves to catch and shoot on 3 pointers, taking 4.7 threes per game, 4 of which he shoots without dribbling. Brown has held opponents to shoot 42.6% from the field, but has had issues guarding the three-point line, allowing opponents to shoot 38.9% from downtown. Kevin Knox on the other hand, is having a very disappointing season thus far. He has only been averaging 19.8 minutes per game, 9 less than he did a season ago, and recorded his first DNP due to Coach Fizdale’s decision, last game against the 76ers. Knox is shooting a fantastic 38.1% from three and has made strides on finishing at the rim. Defense has plagued Knox, owning a defensive rating of 109.3 and allowing opponents to shoot 63.6% from 2 and 41.3% from three, while he’s covering them. Knox will need to tighten his defense to log major minutes in this game, even though he’s drawing the start due to Marcus Morris Sr. being out for this contest.

Inactives

Knicks- Marcus Morris Sr., Elfrid Payton, and Reggie Bullock

Celtics- Gordon Hayward, Romeo Langford, and Tacko Fall

Key Statistics

  1. Boston boasts a defensive rating of 103.3, 8th in the NBA. Meanwhile, the Knicks are 22nd in the NBA in defensive rating, with 110.9.
  2. The Knicks are 28th in the NBA in pace (98.39). The Celtics alro run a slow offensive style, as they’re 20th in pace (100.56).
  3. The Celtics have an impressive assist to turnover ratio of 1.79, 5th in the NBA. The Knicks are 29th in the NBA, with a poor ratio of 1.32.
  4. Although the Knicks run a big lineup, they are still last in the NBA, scoring only 39.8 points in the paint per game. The Celtics are 12th in the NBA, scoring 47.9  points in the paint per game.
  5. Boston averages 9.1 steals per game, 3rd in the NBA. The Knicks log 8.1 steals per game, 11th in the NBA.
  6. The Celtics are 7th in the NBA, averaging 5.7 blocks per game. The Knicks however, only record 4.4 blocks per game (24th in the NBA), despite using big lineups.
  7. Boston and New York only allow teams to score 41.4 and 41.9 points in the paint respectively, ranking 3rd and 4th in the NBA.
  8. Boston is 2nd in the NBA in turnover percentage, only 13%. The Knicks are 21st in the NBA, with a percentage of 15.6.
  9. The Knicks are 7th in the NBA, shooting 37.3% from three this season. The Celtics are 23rd in the NBA, only shooting 34.4% from three.
  10. The Knicks are last in the NBA, shooting free throws at an abysmal clip of 67.2%. The Celtics are shooting an impressive 80.4% from the foul line, 6th in the NBA.
  11. New York leads the NBA, averaging 12.4 offensive rebounds per game. Boston is 8th in the NBA in offensive rebounding, averaging 10.8 per game.

Keys To Winning

For the Knicks to win this ball game, they will need a big effort from their youngsters today. Barrett, Ntilikina, Knox, and Robinson will all have the opportunity to shine with Marcus Morris Sr. out. Randle will get his, but after that, the floor is open for anyone to take shots and lead the offense. Boston is a fantastic defensive team and they especially guard the paint well. The Knicks will need to be mindful of their turnovers and shoot well from the perimeter to win this game. Also, the Knicks will need to stay close to the Celtics in free throws made to give themselves a real shot at winning today.

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