Boston Celtics vs New York Knicks 1/6/22: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Live Stream

Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks Matchup Preview (1/6/22)

The New York Knicks (18-20) host the Boston Celtics (18-20) Thursday night in a game between Eastern Conference disappointments. Both teams were supposed to be in the thick of the playoff race, but underwhelming play and injuries have caused both franchises to slide down the standings. The Celtics identity is often tied to Jayson Tatum, who has been too inconsistent to keep the Celtics afloat. There are too many games where Tatum shoots 6/22 or 10/30 from the field and kills their chances to win. Other times, Tatum is dropping 50 and resembling a top 5 player in the world. The Celtics path forwards rests in the hands of Tatum consistently having a positive effect on the game when his shot is not falling. Jaylen Brown has been efficient and dangerous for this Celtics team. He has emerged from being the second option to being 1b. The leap Brown has made since his rookie year is astounding, and his offensive arsenal is highly polished. In this matchup, the Celtics will be without Payton Pritchard (COVID). Pritchard has been steady for the Celtics this year by creating shots for others on the second unit. Without him, Dennis Schroder will take full command of ball handling duties on the second unit. Schroder has been a bargain free agency signing for the Celtics. He is averaging 16.5 PPG while earning just under $6,000,000. 

The Knicks are coming off a 10 point win against the Indiana Pacers. Julius Randle and RJ Barrett were the stars of that game, combining for 62 points, 24 rebounds, and 7 assists. Randle is following up his excellent play last season with another all around year. Randle is averaging 19.6 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 4.9 APG, 0.75 SPG, and 0.61 BPG while hustling on defense. Kemba Walker has been a question mark for the Knicks all year. When healthy, he is a dangerous scorer that can space the floor. However, Kemba has had knee problems throughout his career, and his height limits his defensive capabilities. Coach Thibodeau has sporadically started Kemba with mixed results. Kemba can raise the Knicks ceiling, but it will boil down to whether his knee can hold up. For this matchup, Nerlens Noel (COVID), Kemba Walker (knee), and Luka Samaric (foot) are game time decisions. If Noel can play, the Knicks would gain a defensive force in the paint that can alter shots. 

Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks Betting Odds

The Celtics and Knicks are tied 1-1 in the season series. The Knicks won opening night 134-128 in a 2OT thriller, while the Celtics won 114-107 on December 18th. In the third clash, I expect the Celtics to win by a very slim margin. Tatum and Brown are back on the court together, and the Celtics finally have the majority of their core healthy at the same time. I would bet up to -2.5 Celtics for the spread, as I anticipate this game to be a battle throughout. I do not expect either team to pull away. I am going with the Celtics because they have the best two players in the game, and their depth is back.

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TV Schedule

Date: 1/6/22
Time: 7:30 PM ET
Arena: Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
Channel: TNT

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Boston Celtics Starting Lineup

PG: Marcus Smart
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Robert Williams
C: Al Horford

Boston Celtics Analysis

With the roster finally healthy, the Celtics can return to winning basketball. Al Horford (3.9 APG) and Robert Williams (1.8 APG) have given the Celtics a playmaking dimension from their centers. Horford is a savvy veteran that knows how to anticipate on defense. Williams has been a pogo stick by blocking shots and protecting the rim. The frontcourt defense for the Celtics has been better than in recent years. The second unit competes hard and has more depth than expected. Schroder, Pritchard, and RIchardson give the team versatility at the guard position. If they want scoring they can send in Schroder. If they want playmaking and shooting, they can go with Pritchard. Richardson provides defense and length.

Enes Freedom is a great offensive rebounder with a sophisticated offensive arsenal. Freedom controls the glass and can isolate in the post. Nesmith can space the floor and hustle on defense. This Celtics second unit is one of the best they have seen in many seasons. Overall, the Celtics have a complete, adaptable roster. They need Tatum and Brown to not force up shots. It would behoove Tatum to let the game come to him and not shoot contested mid range shots.

New York Knicks Starting Lineup

PG: Alec Burks
SG: RJ Barrett
SF: Evan Fournier
PF: Julius Randle
C: Nerlens Noel

New York Knicks Analysis

The Knicks have the pieces to shoot up the Eastern Conference standings. They lack consistency and have not seen their full roster healthy in a while. The loss of Derrick Rose hurt the Knicks isolation scoring, but Immanuel Quickley (10.3 PPG) has tried to fill the role. Randle is a 20/10 threat every night and has contributed to winning. If the Knicks want to take the next step forward, they need RJ Barrett to perform every game. Just last game, Barrett torched the Pacers for 32 points and 8 rebounds. However, there are many examples where Barrett scores 10 points and does not affect the game in other ways. He is only shooting 41% from the field and 32.9% from three. Barrett improving his efficiency will have a massive ripple effect on the Knicks. With Barrett and Randle combining for 40-50 points every game, there would be less pressure on the other starters or bench players to score. Players would not have to force their shot; they could let the game flow and the hot hand will get the most shots. The Knicks playoff chances will rest on Barrett and Randle.

Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks Daily Fantasy Picks

For this contest, I am picking Jaylen Brown and Evan Fournier. With Tatum out, Brown has looked spectacular. He dropped 50 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists against the Orlando Magic. Brown has not scored below 20 points since December 13th. Look for Brown to continue his dominance even though Tatum is back. Tatum will draw the focus of the Knicks defense, and Brown will lead the Celtics in scoring. In the two previous matchups, Evan Fournier scored 32 points on great efficiency. Fournier shredded his former team, and I expect him to continue the trend. Derrick Rose has been out, and Kemba is a mystery right now. The Knicks need scoring apart from Randle and Barrett. Look for Fournier to break 25 points and continue to scorch his former teammates.

I am currently a junior at University of Pennsylvania majoring in Psychology. I have spent the last few years working with various UPenn athletics teams and contributing to the UPenn Sports Analytics Group. My primary interests reside in NBA, NFL, and College Football.

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