By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Knicks vs. Celtics | TD Bank Garden
When: Tuesday | 7:00 PM
Where to Watch: TNT
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
New York: After beating the Raptors two nights in a row, the Knicks travel to Boston looking to run their winning streak to five. Carmelo Anthony is back to form after a knee injury forced him to miss three games. Tyson Chandler said after practice yesterday that there is "a definite chance" that he plays tonight, but he said he's also waiting until he can make all of his movements without muscle spasms. In Chandler's absence, Kenyon Martin has emerged as exactly what the Knicks hoped he would be when they signed him -- and probably more.
UPDATE: Chandler did not participate in shootaround this morning, but will be a game-time decision. If he doesn't play, Mike Woodson said he'll go with the same starting lineup of Felton-Prigioni-Shumpert-Anthony-Martin.
Boston: If the season ended today, the Celtics (7th place in the Eastern Conference) and Knicks (2nd place) would be playing in the first round of the playoffs. Judging by their first two matchups, that would be a treat for those of us who get to watch. The Celts are a different team now -- injuries have taken their toll and Rajon Rondo is out for the season -- but they're still a top-5 defensive team. They actually won seven straight games when Rondo first went down, prompting some to question if they were better without their point guard, although they have come back down to earth and have lost four straight coming into tonight.
UPDATE: Garnett has been ruled out indefinitely, so he will not play tonight.
Last Time Out
New York: The Knicks completed a sweep of a home-and-home series with Toronto with a resounding 110-84 win at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
Boston: The Celtics continued their slide, losing a close one to Mempis, 110-106, on Saturday.
The Numbers Game
Riding their 4-game winning streak, the Knicks have crept a half game ahead of the Pacers for 2nd place in the Eastern Conference.
Matchup to Watch
Iman Shumpert vs. Paul Pierce
Mike Woodson spoke after practice yesterday about the success his team has had playing Melo at power forward since he took over as coach. The player most affected by this development has probably been Shumpert, who often assumes the responsibility of guarding small forwards, rather than guards. Pierce, his opponent tonight, may have lost a step by now, but he still possesses the smarts and mastery of angles that has made him such a deadly scorer for all these years. Shump should have the athletic advantage, but the contrast in styles should make it a fascinating matchup to watch.
What to Look For
The first two matchups between these teams were full of excitement, and hopefully tonight is no different. Kevin Garnett didn't play against Memphis and is questionable for tonight, while Courtney Lee is listed as "doubtful," both because of sprained left ankles. For the Knicks, Chandler could play, but even if he doesn't, Martin's presence makes the loss of their All-Star much easier for the Knicks to handle. K-Mart has been sensational, and watching him play on both ends of the floor right now is a sight to behold.