NEW YORK KNICKS (25-14)
at BOSTON CELTICS (20-21)
Tip-off: Thursday, 8:00 p.m. ET
Line: New York -1.5, Total: 188
The Celtics are looking to snap a four-game losing streak when they host the Knicks on Thursday night.
New York is coming off a close loss to Brooklyn on Monday, but it did win two straight prior to that game and is 4-1 ATS in its past five non-home contests. Boston, on the other hand, is on a four-game losing streak and has shot downright awful in the past two defeats (38.9% FG). The Celtics haven’t been playing the great defense their fans are used to seeing either, allowing 99.3 PPG on 46.4% FG in the past three games. However, Boston has dominated this series with 15 SU wins in the past 18 meetings, while also beating the Knicks 13 straight times at TD Garden.
Can the Knicks end their long losing skid in Boston on Thursday night? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Scott is 4-3-1 ATS in his past five days to boost his season Best Bets mark to 52.2% ATS (59-54-1). StatFox Brian is at 51.2% ATS (65-62-3) while StatFox Gary is winning 51% ATS (52-50-4) for the season. The four experts are collectively 50% ATS on Best Bets for the season. For NBA Totals, Scott is 9-4 (69%) since Jan. 15, boosting his impressive season NBA Totals record to 62-44 (58%).
In Monday's 88-85 loss to cross-town rival Brooklyn, the Knicks struggled to get any offense going. The team is at a loss without PG Raymond Felton who is still nursing a broken pinky, going 5-6 SU with Felton out of the lineup. SF Carmelo Anthony (29.2 PPG, 3rd in NBA) has been struggling with his shot ever since facing the Celtics on Jan. 7. Including his 6-for-26 clip in that loss, he has made just 36.6% FG in the past five games. However, he's still averaged 28.2 PPG and 4.8 APG during this shooting slump. PF Amar’e Stoudemire (10.9 PPG) has started to find his offense with three straight double-digit scoring efforts, averaging 14.7 PPG on 57% FG during this stretch. SG J.R. Smith (16.7 PPG, 5.0 RPG) has scored 15+ points in 19 of his past 21 games, but in five games since dropping 24 points against Boston, he is shooting just 33% from the floor and 22% on three-pointers. C Tyson Chandler (12.2 PPG, 11.0 RPG) has thrived against the Celtics in the past three seasons, averaging 13.4 PPG on 72% FG with 11.4 RPG. He pulled down 17 boards against them in the Jan. 7 loss, and should have no problem cleaning the glass against a Boston team with the fewest amount of rebounds in the NBA (39.1 RPG).
The Celtics losing streak has little to do with the play of their star point guard, Rajon Rondo. Over the last five games, Rondo has done it all, averaging 15.8 PPG, 10.6 APG, 7.4 RPG and 1.6 SPG. He was even better against the Knicks last season with 17.3 PPG, 13.3 APG, 8.3 RPG and 2.3 SPG in the four meetings. SF Paul Pierce (team-high 18.9 PPG) has struggled over the course of the losing skid, not scoring more than 13 points in any of the past four games (11.8 PPG on 31% FG). Pierce will need to get hot if Boston is going to turn this thing around, and he did score 23 points on 10-of-18 FG in the Jan. 7 matchup. SG Jason Terry (10.0 PPG) was supposed to be a huge spark off the bench for the Celtics this season, but he has been disappointing all season, shooting just 42.7% FG. Over the past six games, Terry is playing only 19.5 MPG and he is averaging just 5.3 PPG in those contests.