NBA Game Of The Week: New York Knicks V Boston Celtics.[caption id="attachment_13781" align="aligncenter" width="634"] Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images[/caption] What a great match up we have this week between New York and Boston. They will battle out this week's game of the week
GAME TIME & VIEWING OPTIONS:Time & Date: Friday, January 25, 2013 12:00pm AEDT Location: TD Garden, Boston. Viewing Info: NBA League Pass (see our TV Guide for full info)
FORM HEADING IN:Boston Celtics: 20-19 The Celtics had gaping holes in their defense resulting in a slow start to the season. Since the new year and the return of Avery Bradley the Celtics have looked like a different team. They had a six game winning streak, which included terrific wins over Indiana, New York and Houston. The Celitcs lost their last game, which was against the Bulls. They lost in a heartbreaking overtime game, which saw Marco Belinelli drain the game winning jump shot to give the Bulls a 100-99 win. New York Knicks: 25-13 The Knicks have had a great season thus far. Carmelo Anthony is well and truly in MVP discussions and leading his team well. The Knicks have recently welcomed back Iman Shumpert from an ACL tear, his return will be huge for the Knicks come play off time. New York's last match was in London. The Knicks put on a show in England's capital against Detroit. It was the third time an NBA match has been played in London. The Knicks prevailed 102-87 Last time they met: These two teams met earlier this year on January 7 at Madison Square Garden. It was a very physical match, with Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Garnett at each others throats all game. The Celtics eventually prevailed 102-96
MATCH UP OF THE NIGHT:Tyson Chandler and Kevin Garnett will battle out the match up of the night. These two players are two of the fiercest competitors not only at the center position, but in the whole NBA. Age is just a number, that seems to be the motto Kevin Garnett is standing by this season. KG is now 36 years old and in his 17th NBA season. Garnett has always been known as the most intense player in the league, he has been no different this season. When KG is on, the Celtics are often the great team many thought they would be, when he doesn't perform to the very high standards we expect, the Celtics are just an ordinary team. Boston still rely so heavily on Garnett on both the offensive and defensive end, with averages of 14.6 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists. Tyson Chandler is the reigning Defensive Player Of The Year. He is the cornerstone of the Knicks defense and in my opinion, outside of Carmelo Anthony, is the most important player on the Knicks team. New York is known for their three point game, but don't underestimate the importance of Tyson Chandler and the pick and roll play. Chandler is averaging a double double with 12.4 points and 11 rebounds. With this match up I am expecting a lot of action of the ball. These two are very physical and don't take well to being pushed around. Watch for the rebound battle, this will be crucial for the outcome of the match. When both players are pulling down rebounds is when they are most important for their respective team. I think for both players, 20 rebounds would be more influential than 20 points.
BENCH BATTLE:Bench players will play just as an important role as starters in the outcome of this match. J.R Smith is in many ways the barometer of this New York outfit. When Smith is confident, which he has been all season, he is deadly around the basket and long range. Smith has shot multiple game winners and has been clutch in fourth quarters more often than not. It will be a great contest between Avery Bradley and himself. Will Smith's offense outplay Bradley's defense? Only time will tell. Jeff Green's NBA career has seen more ups and downs than most. He missed all of last season after undergoing serious heart surgery, which has left him with a large scar down his chest. He bounced back with a tremendous preseason which saw him look like the player all Celtics fans hoped he could be. He hasn't able to translate that into the regular season. Although lately Green has started to gain some momentum, mainly with drives to the basket and dunking over anyone who gets in his way.
I feel Amar'e Stoudemire hasn't gotten the respect he deserves since his much anticipated return. Before Melo came to town, Stoudemire was the superstar and back bone of the New York franchise, now he is seen as the player who is holding them back from winning a Championship. I don't see it this way. If Stoudemire is happy coming off the bench, which he has said he is, he would be able to provide at least 10 points and a few rebounds a game, that would be the added firepower the Knicks need to push deep into the playoffs.
Jason Terry has been somewhat underwhelming for the Celtics since signing as a free agent in the off season. Many people were expecting him to pull on the Celtics uniform and be the player he was with the Mavericks. It hasn't been that simple, he has been struggling from downtown and doesn't have much energy left in his legs for defense. The 'Jet' hasn't quite landed in Boston yet, but he did drain a huge three pointer against the Bulls in the dying seconds of OT to give the Celtics the lead.
X FACTOR:Jared Sullinger has proven to be the steal of the 2012 NBA draft. If you haven't watched a Celtics game this season, you are missing out on arguably the hardest worker in the NBA. Sullinger is just 20 years old but is playing like a veteran of multiple NBA seasons. He was medically red flagged by doctors leading into the draft which saw him slip through to pick #21, the Celtics were waiting and happily snapped him up. The more Sullinger plays, the better the Celtics play, it's just that simple. The Knicks will really need to put bodies around Sullinger to disrupt his jump to the ball for rebounds. If Chandler, Copeland and the rest of the Knick's big's can get Sullinger in foul trouble early it could be the key to the game
STARTING LINE UPS:Boston Celtics:
- Point guard: Rajon Rondo
- Shooting guard: Avery Bradley
- Small forward: Paul Pierce
- Power forward: Brandon Bass
- Center: Kevin Garnett
- Point guard: Jason Kidd
- Shooting guard: Iman Shumpert
- Small forward: Carmelo Anthony
- Power forward: Chris Copeland
- Center: Tyson Chandler