Boston Celtics at NY Knicks
When: 7:30 PM ET, Friday, February 1, 2019
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
Staff Preview with notes from Gracenote
NEW YORK – Aside from both teams reportedly being contenders in the Anthony Davis sweepstakes, the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks don’t have much in common these days. The Celtics will try to post their eighth win in nine games and hand the host Knicks a 12th straight setback when the teams meet in Madison Square Garden on Friday.
The Celtics are making their way up the standings in the Eastern Conference and it doesn’t seem to matter whether or not All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving is in the lineup. Irving sat out three of the last four games to rest a sore hip and Boston won all three games, capped by a 126-94 drubbing of the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday that wrapped up a month of January in which the team won 10 of 11 at home.
After Thursday’s blockbuster, roster-gutting trade, the Knicks are racing toward the bottom of the standings with losses in 19 of their last 20 and failed to score at least 100 points in any of the last four contests. “Like I said, this is just the beginning for us,” New York coach David Fizdale told reporters. “This is not something that’s going to define us as a group. The character of this group is a winning character and I see great things coming for them. So, they’re taking their lumps. And that’s fine. Somebody has to be in that spot right now and that’s us.”
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, NBCS Boston, MSG (New York)
ABOUT THE CELTICS (32-19): Boston took a four-point lead into halftime on Wednesday but outscored the Hornets 63-35 after the break to run away with the win. “It just snowballed,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters. “It feels good to be on a run like this with different guys involved throughout. Everybody that went in off the bench added to it without missing a beat, so that’s a good thing.” One of those guys coming off the bench was shooting guard Jaylen Brown, who led the team with 24 points on 10-of-18 shooting and 10 rebounds.
ABOUT THE KNICKS (10-40): New York’s head basketball man Steve Mills and team GM Scott Perry gutted the team of its injured franchise player Kristaps Porzingis, along with Tim Hardaway Jr and Courtney Lee in a blockbuster trade Thursday. In return, Dennis Smith and the expiring contracts of DeAndre Jordan and Wes Matthews from Dallas will provide the Knicks with over $70M in cap space for the Summer of ’19. Smith will get a new beginning under the spotlight of Madison Square Garden. Previously, NY buried center Enes Kanter on the end of the bench while giving other players a longer look, leading to the 26-year-old telling the team through the media to play him or trade him. Fizdale decided to insert him into the game on Wednesday, and Kanter entered to cheers from the crowd before bending down and kissing the team logo at midcourt. “I was planning this for a long time,” Kanter, who managed five points in nine minutes, told reporters. “I was just waiting to get back in. You never know how long I’m going to play here. I was so happy I got in, just to show the fans some love for maybe, I don’t know, one last time.” Knicks fans must be longing for the Circus to return to town.
1. Knicks PG Frank Ntilikina (groin) is expected to miss his third straight game.
2. Celtics C Al Horford is shooting 67.4 percent from the floor over his last four games.
3. Boston took two of the first three meetings, including a 103-101 triumph in New York on Oct. 20.