New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics 1/8/22: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds, Live Stream

New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics Matchup Preview (1/8/22)

The New York Knicks (19-20) will now travel to TD Garden and face the Boston Celtics (18-21) once again. The Knicks are coming off a 20-point comeback against the Celtics Thursday night in which RJ Barrett made a miracle three point shot at the buzzer. Hopefully, for the Knicks, they will use this excitement to alter their trajectory and begin a winning streak. There is plenty of time to catch up in the standings as the Knicks are only a few games behind 5th. Nerlens Noel (COVID) and Kemba Walker (knee) did not play on Thursday and are once again questionable for this matchup. With Noel out Thursday, the Knicks started Mitchell Robinson over Taj Gibson to improve rim protection. Noel’s return would bolster the center rotation and allow the Knicks to constantly have interior defense on the floor. 

When the Celtics hold a double-digit lead, bet the opposing moneyline. The phrase best used to describe the Celtics this season? Soul-crushing, 4th quarter collapse. Jayson Tatum defended Barrett perfectly. He switched at the right moment, timed his jump, and almost blocked the shot. The Celtics simply just cannot win down the stretch. The NBA defines a clutch game as a game where there is 5 minutes left and neither team leads by more than 5 points. The Celtics are 2nd in clutch games played and 29th in clutch win%. If they were average in clutch games and won half of them, they would be the 5th seed in the East. Instead, they are currently out of the play-in. At this point, there seems to be a mental problem. Psychologically, the Celtics shrink in big moments and cannot consistently put together 48 minutes of good Celtics basketball. They will have another chance to get revenge Saturday night in TD Garden. Payton Pritchard (COVID) is expected to be out again, so Josh Richardson should see an increased role on the bench. Tatum played extremely well last game, and the Celtics will need a similar effort from him in the rematch. 

New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics Betting Odds

The Knicks lead the series 2-1 this season with every game within seven points. The game will be extremely close throughout with the Knicks eventually winning. For the spread, I would only bet up to -2.5 Knicks because the game seems like a coin flip. Although the Knicks are 2-1 in the series, they could easily be 0-3. Randle did not play his best basketball, but he was still able to score 22 points and secure 8 rebounds. A player prop on Randle getting a 20/10 game could hold tremendous value depending on the odds. There is a good chance he achieves this feat since he is essential to the Knicks offensive plan. Betting big on Fournier scoring 25+ would have won the last three times these teams played. Look for the Knicks to once again feed Randle and Fournier in this matchup. 

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TV Schedule

Date: 1/8/22
Time: 7:30 PM ET
Arena: TD Garden – Boston, MA
Channel: NBATV, NBSB

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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 starting point guard position has been a rollercoaster for the Knicks. They were praised in the offseason when they got Kemba on a bargain contract. He signed for 2 years and $17.8 million total, which was a steal. Kemba was coming off a massive 4 year, $140 million contract, and although he had health problems, he still averaged 19.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.6 APG last season. The Knicks have seen the duality of Kemba so far. He has been hurt and often plays at less than 100% health. However, he has had vintage games where he has scored 30 or 40 points on great efficiency.

With Kemba in and out of the lineup, the Knicks have anointed Alec Burks as their starting point guard with mixed results. Burks is one of the rare players who has a higher 3PT% (40.8) than field goal percentage (39.6%). He does not have the playmaking ability of a true point guard and fits better as a secondary playmaker. Quickley is a scorer as well off the bench, so the only primary guard playmaker the Knicks have is Elfrid Payton, who comes with serious offensive flaws. The Knicks obtaining a playmaker at the deadline would allow their offense to run smoother and operate more naturally. They have potential to make some noise in the East with Barrett, Randle, Fournier, Kemba, etc., but they are a piece or two away from being an actual contender. 

Boston Celtics Starting Lineup

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

Boston Celtics Analysis

There are not many bright spots for the Celtics this year. They are below .500, have blown many double-digit leads, and do not have the cap space to significantly improve. Although there are rumors about the Celtics trading Jaylen Brown, that idea would be ridiculous. He is signed for the next two seasons at a team-friendly price. Brown averages 24.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.5 BPG with excellent defense. He is unselfish and places winning above individual numbers. The Tatum and Brown pair is not the flaw on this team; they are the strong core.

The Celtics need to upgrade the point guard position immediately. Schroder is a scorer before a playmaker. Schroder will most likely leave the Celtics after this season for a larger contract that I do not see the Celtics matching. Marcus Smart is more of a defensive guard who can pass, rather than a key playmaker. He turns the ball over far too often and lacks decision making at times. Pritchard is a solid player, but he is more suited to run the bench unit at this stage of his career. If the Celtics can find a skilled playmaker at the trade deadline, they can turn their season around and sneak into the playoffs as a potential dark horse. 

New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics Daily Fantasy Picks

Evan Fournier and Jayson Tatum will be the stars of the matchup again. Fournier is averaging 35 PPG against the Celtics this year. He scorched them for 41 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists on 15/25 from the field and 10/14 from three last game. I do not trust the Celtics to stop him; I will believe it when I see it. An underrated pick is Quickley for the Knicks. He is a microwave scorer for them off the bench and will get big minutes. Tatum, meanwhile, was fantastic and produced 36 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists on 12/21 from the field and 6/11 from three. Tatum will score 28+ points and grab 7 rebounds for the Celtics in this one. 

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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