After matching their playoff win total in the last two years when they defeated the Boston Celtics 85-78, the New York Knicks will look to take full control of the first round matchup with a win in Game 2.
The Celtics hung around the whole time in Game 1, which isn’t a surprise since we all know how good of a playoff team they are, but the Knicks are the superior team in this series. Game 2 is a huge game for both teams: the Knicks want to take full advantage of their home-court and the Celtics want to split the first two games and go into the TD Garden with the momentum going their way, where they will have all the emotion of Boston behind them.
Here’s all you need to know for Game 2:
When: Tuesday, April 23rd at 8:00 PM
Where: Madison Square Garden; New York, NY
Betting Line: Knicks (-6.5)
When the Knicks have the ball: 85.0 PPG (14th in playoffs), Boston 85.0 Points allowed (third in playoffs)
When the Celtics have the ball: 78.0 PPG (16th in playoffs). New York 78.0 Points allowed (first in playoffs)
Key Matchup: Jeff Green vs. Knicks defenders
Jeff Green was hands down the Celtics best player in Game 1 and the Knicks must contain him if they want to win. There are two Jeff Green’s, the one who can take over a game like he did against Miami, or the one who looks like he doesn’t know how to play. Mike Woodson is going to have matchup problems due to Green’s size and athleticism. Green played 46 minutes, shot over 50 percent from the field, knocked down three 3’s and also grabbed seven boards.
Carmelo Anthony is the only Knick who can match up with Green physically, but there’s no way Woodson sends him out there to guard him for the entire game. Melo isn’t the best defender in the world as we know and it would be foolish to put him out on Green because Green plays aggressive and could get Melo into early foul trouble. Guarding a player like Green would also use up a lot of Carmelo’s energy, which is needed more on the offensive end of the floor. Woodson will probably put Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith on Green when they are out there. I would expect Shumpert’s minutes to increase for defensive purposes.
I really think the Knicks need this game more than the Celtics. If the Celtics win Game 2, the series turns into a who can win three games out of five, with the first two in Boston. Game 3 will be the first Celtic game in Boston since the bombings so you know emotions will be running high. As a basketball fan I will love it but as a Knicks fan, I know it’s going to be a tough game. I think the Knicks know how important this game is and what they are headed for in Game 3. Anthony will end up being too much for the Celtics to handle.
Prediction: Knicks 95, Celtics 88