Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks: Predictions, Starting Lineups (10/25/23)

The Boston Celtics meet the New York Knicks this Wednesday (10/25/23) in their respective season openers. Get Celtics vs. Knicks moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchups.

Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks Prediction

Jalen Brunson exploded last year through averages of 24 points and 6.2 assists on excellent 49/41/82 shooting splits. The Knicks leaned heavily on his ability to generate advantages in the pick-and-roll, as well as his off-ball spacing. When opponents trapped Brunson or fielded elite point-of-attack defenders though, New York’s offense struggled to churn out desirable shot quality and string together quality possessions. Their lack of creation savants remains a sore weakness, which raises red flags against this nasty Celtics defense.

Trade acquisition Jrue Holiday absolutely tormented opponents last year; he was one of four players (Lu Dort, Alex Caruso, Dillon Brooks) to rank top ten in all of the following metrics via Basketball Index.

  • Matchup Difficulty
  • Perimeter Isolation Defense
  • Ball Screen Navigation
  • Off-Ball Chaser Defense

Derrick White is also an elite screen navigator and point-of-attack defender that routinely shuts down opposing ball handlers. With Holiday and White harassing Brunson, it will be difficult for the Knicks to consistently get into their offensive sets and penetrate the paint. New York cannot even attempt to force a mismatch either because Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum are both capable of hanging with Brunson.

Even if the Knicks – who ranked 3rd in drives per game – bypass Boston’s perimeter defense, the danger is far from over. Off-season addition Kristaps Porzingis ranked 5th across the NBA in rim points saved per 75 possessions and 8th in rim defensive field goal percentage versus expected. The 7’3” center is a force to be reckoned with around the basket, which doesn’t bode well for New York.

On the other end, the Knicks protected the rim at a high level with Mitchell Robinson manning the paint. However, they surrendered the fourth most open plus wide open three-point attempts per game due to Randle and Robinson’s inability to close out or rotate quickly. That’s concerning because Porzingis (38.5 3PT%) and Al Horford (44.6 3PT%) are both excellent outside shooters that will completely stretch the floor. Boston ranked second in three-point attempts and sixth in three-point percentage last year, and they only improved their shooting.

Plus, how are the Knicks supposed to stop Jayson Tatum? Josh Hart and RJ Barrett are decent options to somewhat slow him down, but that would leave Randle guarding a wing like Jaylen Brown. Yikes!

Now, New York’s trump card last year was their deep bench. When Immanuel Quickley, Josh Hart, and Isaiah Hartenstein shared the court across 333 minutes last season, New York outscored opponents by 15.8 points per 100 possessions – a hyper-elite mark. The Knicks added combo guard Donte DiVincenzo this off-season too; he averaged 9.4 points and 3.5 assists for the Warriors while shooting 39.7 percent on 5.3 three-point attempts per game. Boston is by no means shallow, as Payton Pritchard, Sam Hauser, Oshae Brissett, Lamar Stevens, and Al Horford form a competent bench five. However, New York possesses a clear advantage. In the end, it won’t be enough to compensate here.

Overall, the Celtics are a horrible matchup for the Knicks based on strengths and weaknesses. New York needs shooting luck on their side here to cover the spread, which is entirely plausible given the season opener rust potential. Based on the involved rosters though, backing Boston to cover three points and win outright represents the best bets in this matchup.

Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks Prediction: Celtics -3 & moneyline

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Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks Best Odds

The visiting Celtics are a three-point favorite here and own a decent -148 moneyline. For New York’s +140 moneyline to hold a positive expected value, they must win about 41 percent of the time. The over under sits at a low 225.5 points, which reflects New York’s sluggish pace of play and Boston’s defense.

Boston Celtics Starting Lineup

PG: Jrue Holiday
SG: Derrick White
SF: Jaylen Brown
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Kristaps Porzingis

New York Knicks Starting Lineup

PG: Jalen Brunson
SG: Quentin Grimes
SF: RJ Barrett
PF: Julius Randle
C: Mitchell Robinson

Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks Injuries

Boston rested 37-year-old Al Horford for their final pre-season game, but that was simply veteran maintenance and not an injury. Both teams will be at full strength in this matchup.

Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks Key Matchups

Knicks Offensive Rebounding

The Knicks were second in offensive rebound percentage and sixth in contested rebound percentage last year. Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson are both glass-cleaners that seemingly have a gravitational pull on the basketball. They could impose their will against a Celtics team that exchanged Robert Williams III – an excellent rebounder – for Kristaps Porzingis, who doesn’t play through contact well. If New York can control the boards and rack up put-backs, then their abundance of second chance points may help them keep pace with Boston’s scorching offense.

Doctor Julius and Mister Randle

Sifting through Julius Randle’s game log inspired serious Jekyll and Hyde vibes. Randle attempted at least 8 three-point attempts in 45 games last year. He shot above 40 percent in 18 of them and below 30 percent in 17 of them. It’s a coin toss as to whether Randle will rain down threes or brick New York out of the game. If the Knicks are going to slay Goliath, then it’s imperative that Julius Randle excels from an efficiency standpoint.

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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