New York At Boston
When: 7:30 PM
ET, Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
While Phil Jackson’s name gets bandied about as a possible hire to run the franchise, the New York Knicks are suddenly clicking on the court. New York seeks its fifth straight victory when it visits the Boston Celtics on Wednesday and suddenly stands just 3 1/2 games behind eighth-place Atlanta for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics clinched their first losing season since 2006-07 with Tuesday’s loss to the Indiana Pacers.
First-year coach Brad Stevens says his team is improving but it doesn’t always seem that way with Boston sitting 20 games below .500. “Even though we’re not winning a lot of games, we still have the mindset of playing hard every game and giving our best,” forward Chris Johnson said after the loss to Indiana. New York is buzzing about the possibility of Jackson taking over the reins of the struggling franchise and an announcement is expected to come later this week. Jackson has experienced coaching success with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers but hasn’t previously run a franchise.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, MSG (New York), CSN New England (Boston)
ABOUT THE KNICKS (25-40): New York’s improved play has come with forward Amar’e Stoudemire in the starting lineup and playing his best basketball of the season. Stoudemire scored a season-best 23 points on 9-of-10 shooting in Monday’s victory over the Philadelphia 76ers and is averaging 18 points and shooting 61 percent in five games since being inserted as a starter. “It feels great,” Stoudemire told reporters. “I have been working extremely hard to get back to my normal self. My confidence is there. It never left.”
ABOUT THE CELTICS (22-42): Boston had a modest two-game winning streak halted by the Pacers when it shot just 35.2 percent from the field. Stevens noticed some of the other statistical categories and painted an optimistic picture. “We’re 16-10 assists to turnovers, we got 20 offensive rebounds. Everything went great expect the ball going in the basket,” Stevens told reporters. “That’s OK, I feel like we’re getting better. I really do and I think you can see it.”
1. Boston has won two of this season’s three previous meetings, including a 114-73 road win on Dec. 8.
2. Knicks C Tyson Chandler could miss his second consecutive game while tending to a personal matter.
3. Celtics F Kris Humphries is averaging 17.5 points (on 15-of-23 shooting) and 10 rebounds over the past two games.
PREDICTION: Knicks 109, Celtics 101
Stats and Records
Boston Off vs
New York Def
95.4 Points For
100.3 Points Against