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Game Preview: Knicks vs Celtics- 02/1/19

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They beat them once.

Tonight the Knicks will soldier forward with a depleted (and hopefully reanimated) roster. The carrot that kept this cart moving forward is moving to Texas. Kristaps Porzingis, the one guy’s son, that other dude and someone else, are no longer Knicks.

It’s possible, maybe even probable that Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews will make their Garden debuts tonight. No matter what, I still hope Enes Kanter doesn’t play.

The prevailing logic is that the Knicks (10-40) are tanking and not playing Kanter because of it. The truth is much more that Kanter is the biggest liability the team has had since Mardy Collins or maybe even the coach who shall not be named. Actors just know how to find the camera and Kanter did just that when he made a show of kissing the Knicks logo at center court in their last game. Kanter is suffering from theydon’tloveyoulikethat-atosis. His theatrical love is largely unrequited, aside from the casual fan who watches the box score.

Certainly Enes isn’t completely devoid of value, but the Knicks don’t have enough talent to play guys who stat pad and take the rest of the team out of rhythm. There should be no amount of rope given to those who don’t give their maximum effort at all times and on both ends of the floor. Dog shit play can be forgiven. Dog shit effort cannot.

That will ring especially true against Boston tonight on the national stage. It seems the Knicks brass knows how to turn to the camera as well. These annoying Celtics (32-19) just have a knack for being first to loose balls and turning nothing into something. Will the Knicks care enough? How do you even bring the energy to care for 48 minutes when this craziness will reach an absolute fever pitch?


Projected Starters

Kyrie Irving has been out the past couple games with a little scuff on his troublesome hip. You might think, oh it’s New York and it’s on ESPN, I like to flirt them, I’ll play. Yet something tells me the Celtics will want to rest Kyrie at least one more game when their opponent is the worst in the business and the roster upheaval is messy, if not hot, to boot. Supposing he does play, the “MVP” chants as he shoots his 14th and 15th free throws will be real cute. Super cute.

Key Matchup

I really don’t know. You have to assume that current youth development is only at an even higher premium than it was previously. So I guess I have to wonder what on earth is Noah Vonleh going to do with Al Horford? The answer is that hopefully he’ll study him. See the ways Horford gets himself and his teammates free. See how engaged he is on defense. What does Al Horford see and how can I, Noah Vonleh, see those things.

In all seriousness, Horford is a perfect spirit animal for Vonleh to model his game after. Look at these squeaky clean plays.

Prediction

The Celtics will suffer from a touch of hubris this frigid evening. Letting the Knicks get a rhythm, Dennis Smith will be on triple-double watch early. DeAndre Jordan will control the boards on both ends. Wes Matthews will spank home some triples. The incumbent Knicks will play with a refreshing freedom. Just kidding, it’s a Friday night schedule loss. The curse lives on. Golly, thanks, Robert Randolph.

Knicks by -50.

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