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Knicks at Celtics: What bettors need to know

New York Knicks at Boston Celtics (-3, 190)

Just over a week ago the Boston Celtics were likely entertaining thoughts of surpassing the New York Knicks atop the Atlantic Division. How things have changed. The Celtics have lost four straight while the once-struggling Knicks have won four in a row, taking some of the drama from their meeting Tuesday night at TD Garden. Further sapping the intrigue is the fact that Boston will be without All-Star forward Kevin Garnett as he battles a left ankle injury.

While Boston has its share of injury concerns, New York's relative return to health has reversed its fortunes and helped solidify the club's hold on the division lead. Carmelo Anthony has averaged 28.7 points in three games since returning from a knee ailment and fellow All-Star Tyson Chandler may return from a neck injury when the team gets to Boston, if not soon thereafter. Chandler has missed six straight games, including the Knicks' 110-84 rout of Toronto at home on Saturday.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, TNT

ABOUT THE KNICKS (42-26):
New York coach Mike Woodson has already said that forward Kenyon Martin will return to the bench once Chandler returns, but that is not an indictment of Martin's play. The veteran had 18 points, seven rebounds and a pair of blocks in the win over Toronto and is shooting 77.8 percent (21-for-27) over his last three games. Martin wasn't with the Knicks when they won in Boston on Jan. 24, snapping an 11-game losing streak at TD Garden. New York enters with a two-game lead in the division over Brooklyn and a 6 1/2-game advantage on Boston.

ABOUT THE CELTICS (36-33):
While Boston has hit the skids, three of its four losses came on the road, the home game was against the unbeatable Miami Heat and all four came by an average of only 4.3 points. In addition, it showed it can put up a fight when shorthanded. Playing without Garnett and Courtney Lee, who was also out with an ankle injury, the Celtics pushed Memphis to the finish line Saturday before falling 110-106. Jordan Crawford scored 21 of the bench's 44 points. "They were great," coach Doc Rivers said of his reserves. "We basically told them to go in and try to cause havoc, and they did that."

TRENDS:

* Knicks are 5-0 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Celtics are 11-1 ATS in their last 12 home games.
* Over is 4-0 in Celtics’ last four home games.
* Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings in Boston.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Lee, who has made six of his last eight 3-pointers, is expected to return.

2. Streaky Knicks swingman J.R. Smith shot 3-for-16 in the previous meeting. He shoots 37.8 percent on the road, compared with 43.2 percent at home.

3. The rivals meet for the fourth and final time on Easter Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

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