|NBA: New York Knicks at Boston Celtics Preview & Picks|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Thursday, 29 November 2007 02:57|
Home Court Advantage
The New York Knicks have finally strung together back-to-back wins for the first time in nearly a month. Making it three in row will have to come at the expense of the revamped Boston Celtics - who've yet to lose to at home.
Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Boston -13 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 188 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 80% of bets for this game have been placed on Boston -13 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
New York looks for its first road win this season when it meets the Celtics' trio of Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce for the first time on Thursday night at TD Banknorth Garden.
New York (4-9) posted consecutive wins earlier this season against Minnesota and Denver, but had lost eight straight before home victories over Chicago and Utah, cooling speculation that coach Isiah Thomas was on the verge of losing his job.
After Monday's 113-109 win over the Northwest Division-leading Jazz, Thomas put aside his recent feud with Stephon Marbury and had only good things to say about his point guard, who had a season-high 28 points and six assists.
"His leadership throughout the game, during the course of the game, his decision-making, his defense, his shot-making ability. Just from start to finish he was great," said Thomas of Marbury, whom he suspended for one game earlier this month.
Zach Randolph had a season-high 25 points and 14 rebounds while Jamal Crawford added 22 points. But winning will be considerably tougher on Thursday - New York is 0-6 and averaging 96.0 points on the road while Boston has allowed an average of 85.0 points en route to a 7-0 record at home.
Randolph, who averages a team-high 18.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game, is confident New York will prevail.
"Right now, we feel like we beat anybody," he said. "We got a lot of talent in here and guys have got to be ready to play. Like I said to the guys, when we compete we can play with anybody in this league. I really mean that."
The Celtics have gone 3-1 against the Knicks each of the last three seasons and that was without Garnett and Allen, who have transformed Boston into an Eastern Conference power once again.
But Boston is coming off just its second defeat, a 109-104 overtime loss on Tuesday at defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland. The game was also only Garnett's second this season without a double-double, as he had 19 points but a season-low five rebounds.
Allen had 29 points, but missed two free throws at the end of regulation that pushed the game to overtime. He's a career 88.8 percent free-throw shooter.
"I feel like I let the team down," Allen said. "I was so surprised I missed the first one, I didn't let it go. I took it into the second one."
The Celtics are still off to their best 13-game start since 1990-91, when they also started 11-2. Garnett, Allen and Pierce are all among the top 20 in the NBA in scoring.
Meanwhile Marbury, a teammate of Garnett's for two seasons in Minnesota in the 1990s, is averaging just 15.2 points - the lowest total of his career.
"When I have the ball more and I'm able to create and make plays, I can get into a nice flow," Marbury said. "With time, everything might happen. The season is still young, it's November. I'm not panicking at all. I'm not worried, I have no worries as far as how I'm going to play."
Marbury is averaging 18.7 points in his career against the Celtics, but 19.7 in Boston.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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