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The Boston Celtics are hoping to stay on track at home against the New York Knicks.
Knicks’ woes centered on defense
The Knicks have gone through their fair share of ups and down through the first quarter of the season that has pushed them to one of the worst marks in the Eastern Conference. A large chunk of this has been their play defensively ranking as one of the worst teams in that regard being 26th in the league giving up 114.4 points per contest while also ranking 26th with opponents shooting 47.4 percent from the field against them. Meanwhile, they are tied for 24th with allowing opponents to shoot 36.8 percent from beyond the arc. This includes giving up more than 110 points in the last four straight games including north of 130 in their 136-134 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Their lack of efficiency defensively has put them behind the eight ball in having to claw their way back into games with their inability to stop their opponents on that end of the floor.
The Hard-a-way 💪 pic.twitter.com/3A1QmrtZCM
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) December 4, 2018
Their play defensively has overshadowed their brights spots offensively as guard Tim Hardaway Jr. has been their leading scorer averaging 22.2 points per contest, which ranks 16th best in the league. He has posted six games with more than 30 points after notching just seven career 30-point games prior to this season. He also ranks tied for fourth with 67 made 3-pointers. Hardaway has also notched 20 or more points in three out of the last five games played. Big man Enes Kanter has provided consistent production this season as he’s averaging a double-double with 15.0 points and 11.6 rebounds per contest. He is currently tied for sixth with 15 double-doubles while ranking 10th in the NBA in rebounds. However, if the Knicks hope to upend the Celtics it will have to come with improved play defensively. If not, it will be another disappointing contest.
The Celtics have gone through their rough patches of the season, but things appear to be trending north over the last few weeks behind their streaking play over the last couple of weeks having won four out of their last five contest including three straight going into Thursday’s game. Much of this recent success has come from an uptick in their offensive production registering north of 110 points in each of their last four games played. This has been a problem for them through the first quarter of the season to find their offensive balance despite having a talented group of scorers on the roster. This has seen them finally push forward over the last couple of weeks that has helped them look like a team that could make their way out of the Eastern Conference for the first time in nearly a decade.
Why not 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/feJfyXpT6g
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 2, 2018
These steps forward have been fueled by the strong play of All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, who has notched more than 20 points in each of the three contests during their winning streak. He has been the leading an offensive factor for the team averaging 22.2 points on 48.8 percent shooting from the floor and 38.8 percent from beyond the arc along with 6.4 assists per contest. Irving is currently one of 11 players in the league that is currently averaging more than 22.0 points and 6.0 assists that includes being one of three players in the Eastern Conference alongside All-Stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kemba Walker. Meanwhile, All-All-Star forward Gordon Hayward has finally broken through with a strong outing posting a season-high 30 points that featured hitting four 3-pointers. The improved play on that end of the floor along with them being one of the best defensive teams in the league ranking fifth in the league with 104.1 points allowed should present plenty of fits for the Knicks on Thursday night.
- Celtics are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games playing on 3 or more days rest.
- Celtics are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a losing straight up record.
- Celtics are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- Over is 4-0 in Knicks last 4 games following an ATS loss.
- Over is 6-1 in Knicks last 7 games following a straight up loss.
- Over is 8-2 in Knicks last 10 games playing on 2 days rest.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Celtics are beginning to hit their stride on both ends of the floor should lead to them continuing that trend against the Knicks. It also helps that New York are struggling to find success defensively only makes this a more favorable matchup for Boston.
Prediction: Boston -12.5
Full-Game Total Pick
The Celtics have an advantageous matchup against the Knicks, who have been one of the league’s worst defenses this season. The over is also 4-0 in Celtics’ last four games played overall. The over is 6-2 in New York’s last eight road games.
Prediction: Over 217.5