BOSTON CELTICS (16-17)
at NEW YORK KNICKS (23-10)
Tip-off: Monday, 7:35 p.m. ET
Line: New York -6, Total: 193
Both the Knicks and Celtics will be going for a three-game winning streak when the two square off at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.
Boston is coming off two big wins and covers against Indiana (94-75) and then Atlanta (89-81) on the road. The Knicks beat San Antonio on Thursday, but struggled against Orlando on Saturday, needing 16 points from Carmelo Anthony in the fourth quarter to prevail 114-106. Can the Celtics hang close to the Knicks on Monday night? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The experts have posted a strong 51-40-1 ATS (56%) mark since Dec. 22. StatFox Brian is 14-6 ATS (70%) since Dec. 23, while StatFox Scott is 11-3 ATS (79%) since Dec. 29, giving him a season Best Bets mark of 57% ATS (49-37), with Brian (55% ATS) and StatFox Gary (51.3% ATS) also profitable. The four experts are collectively 52.0% ATS (205-189-11) on Best Bets for the season. For NBA Totals, the experts are an excellent 28-18 (63%) since Dec. 28 with StatFox Brian going 10-4 (71%) and Gary posting a 10-8 (56%) mark and Scott with an 8-6 (57%) record during this span. Scott continues to have a huge year at 51-34 (60%) for his season totals.
After a dreadful start to the season, it seems like the Celtics could be finding their groove here to start the new year. And they're doing it with defense, holding the Hawks and Pacers to 78.0 PPG on 35.9% shooting. PG Rajon Rondo had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists against the Hawks and is averaging 11.3 PPG, 9.3 APG and 5.8 RPG over the past four games, showing how much his absence will hurt. SF Paul Pierce was also phenomenal against the Hawks, scoring 26 points (8-of-20 FG) to go along with nine rebounds and five assists. PF Kevin Garnett averaged 16.0 PPG in the Celtics two most recent games, but his rebounding (6.3 RPG in past three games) as well as the rest of the teamís (46.9 RPG this season, last in NBA) has continued to be an issue for Doc Rivers and company.
The Knicks have won two straight games, including a 17-point rout of the Spurs. The addition of PF Amaríe Stoudemire (9.0 PPG in 18.3 MPG) hasnít yet held back SF Carmelo Anthony, despite the chatter that the two cannot co-exist. Anthony is averaging 36.0 PPG to go along with 7.0 RPG and 4.3 APG over the past three contests. He was shooting 51% from the field and 44% from three in those games. SG J.R. Smith has continued to play the best basketball of his career, averaging 24.2 PPG over the past five games. He chipped in 18 points in the win over the Magic and it was the first time in four games he failed to score at least 20 points. The Knicks bench has been crucial to the teamís success without PG Raymond Felton (finger) and they could use another game from PG Pablo Prigioni like he had against the Spurs (6 points, 9 assists and 3 steals).