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Knicks-Celtics Preview: At least try to contain Kelly Olynyk

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The Knicks will play the Celtics tonight in Boston, which is sub-optimal.

NBA: Boston Celtics at New York Knicks
Beware of 4th quarters
Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The brush, floss, rinse, repeat cycle is absolutely in full force for the Knicks. The awful losing streak, the melodrama, the injuries and the weird behind-the-scenes drama that seems to happen every year — the Knicks have seen it all.

Thankfully, Knicks fans are completely used to this and I think most of us have become pretty good at compartmentalizing this part of our lives and focusing on other things. But alas, they still have to play the games. Wedensday night they play their rivals, the 3rd-place Celtics in Boston, which should absolutely go just fine for New York.

Knick fans are continuing to monitor the progress of Kristaps Porzingis, who has been sidelined the past three games with a sore Achilles. The Knicks would love to have him back. Again, the Knicks are technically — if you squint hard enough — not very far from a playoff spot. Monday night’s one-point loss to Atlanta hurt, so they should prrrrobably start winning some games.

There is no word yet on whether or not Kristaps will play against Boston, but it would be nice if he could. With that said, though, I’m sure we could all agree that the future is more important than this season. Rushing him back to play this year before he’s 100% ready is unacceptable.

The latest non-Melo related piece of news from Knicks land is Hornacek’s desire to test Kristaps out at the 5, moving Noah to the bench. Personally, I love this news. The consensus on Porzingis has always been that he’s still a bit skinny to play center, and he’ll need a few years in an NBA strength and conditioning program before being able to move into that role. But, if Kristaps is the center of the future for the Knicks (and he is), I have absolutely nothing against letting him get his feet wet now. Letting Noah come off the bench might be exactly what he needs, too. He’ll come in for defense, and will be a quality option to spell Kristaps should he get into any sort of foul trouble.

The Knicks last played Boston on Christmas which was awesome!

That game was particularly frustrating for Knick fans because Isaiah Thomas did not play well, yet still dropped 27 points. Then there was Kelly freaking Olynyk, who dropped maybe the 16 most annoying points I have ever seen. And as it just so happens, Kelly is on a bit of tear these days. He followed up a 26-point performance against Atlanta on Friday with a comparatively modest 15-point game against Charlotte on Monday. In those two games, he has gone 6-7 from three point range. Given the Knicks' current state, we can expect him to shoot 7-6 tonight. He'll find a way.

It’s tough to project a starting 5 for the Knicks these days because of Kristaps’ injury, but it’s safe to say that it won’t be the one they wheeled out against Atlanta. Either way, whatever lineup we do see take the floor in Boston tonight, it will probably be a more offensive minded one as the Celtics don't have a good defense.

If New York can defend Isaiah Thomas and prevent him from having another massive 4th quarter, they could have a chance to win this game. The Knicks and Celtics are in two very different places right now, and the play of Thomas has much to do with Boston’s success. A win tonight against a team as red hot as Boston would be the exact type of distraction from this week’s turmoil the Knicks are looking for.

Also, it’s always fun to beat the Celtics.