A Sunday tuneup against the LaMelo Ball-led Charlotte Hornets later, the Knicks head to Boston on a quest for revenge.
It wasn’t at all long ago that the rival Celtics entered Madison Square Garden on Opening Night and stopped New York’s fourth quarter comeback. Some missed Knicks free throws and a Kristaps Porzingis dagger later, Boston won 108-104.
Needless to say, the team has since found its footing and sits 5-4. The Knicks are riding a three-game winning streak and the rust is looking less and less each contest.
This should make for another tight rivalry matchup in Boston as the Knicks try the Celtics again.
Time: Monday, November 13, 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: MSG, NBA TV
Betting line: Knicks +8.5, Over/under 223.5 via DraftKings
Injuries: Neemias Queta (Foot; questionable)
Key Storyline: How will Knicks adjust for Celtics rematch? One can argue that New York doesn’t need to adjust all that much for this game. The Knicks, despite shooting just above 37% in that game, mounted a comeback and kept up with the Celtics. Free throws, per usual, were a difference maker.
Two-and-a-half weeks later, New York has played more efficiently on all ends. Julius Randle, fighting through ankle pain after offseason surgery, is slowly returning to form. Everyone is more in sync and ready for Boston again. There’s no doubt that this game is a potential playoff preview.
Key Matchup: Mitchell Robinson vs. Kristaps Porzingis. KP is truly tough to defend and no novice like recent Robinson victim Victor Wembenyama. Even with his best effort, the Knicks’ dominant big absolutely humiliating his former teammate is unlikely.
But Robinson at least has to try. Porzingis’ 30-point night at the Garden aside, the lanky Latvian is very much a secondary scorer on the Celtics. Opening Night was just the perfect storm of the Knicks’ failure to defend him and Jaylen Brown having an off night. We have to expect Robinson will be better prepared to defend Porzingis outside the paint.
X-Factor: Jalen Brunson. Randle’s extended early struggles made Brunson’s rough start easy to miss. He only managed 15 points and six assists on 6 of 21 shooting on Opening Night. Only Immanuel Quickley’s efficiency off the bench helped keep the score close and spark a short Knick comeback. Contrastingly, Celtics star Jayson Tatum was as advertised and led the way with a 34-point outing, shooting 13 of 22.
Brunson needs to be that consistent, maybe more if the Knicks wish to even the score.
Knicks predicted starters: Jalen Brunson (PG), Quentin Grimes (SG), RJ Barrett (SF), Julius Randle (PF), Mitchell Robinson (C)
Celtics predicted starters: Jrue Holiday (PG), Derrick White (SG), Jaylen Brown (SF), Jayson Tatum (PF), Kristaps Porzingis (C)
Prediction: We’ve got another squeaker here, folks. The Knicks will be in a better rhythm and not in some collective shock about no one’s shots falling. Brunson leads the way with some clutch baskets late in the game and Porzingis is contained just enough.
Knicks beat Celtics 112-107