Matchup: New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics
Records: Knicks (8-17); Celtics (13-10)
Where to Watch
Date: Friday, Dec. 7
Time: 6:30 AM IST
TV: Sony Ten1
Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Getting a fully healthy roster back heading into the 2018-19 season was a mouth-watering proposition for any Boston Celtics fan but realistically, everybody knew it would take time for all the players to settle down into their roles and then thrive in it on both ends of the floor.
Yes, a 13-10 start to the season could be considered underwhelming but going by the recent numbers it could be said that the Celtics are slowly but surely finding their way back. While their offense has struggled with so many players on their deep roster coming to terms with sharing the ball, the team has relied on defense. Through 23 games, Boston boasts of a defensive rating of 103.1, good for second-best in the league. Behind their defense, they rank a tied 7th in the net rating category with a rating of 4.0.
After having a rough start to the season (just the first six games), Kyrie Irving seems to be balling (mostly after he got his Afro cut off) and making his season averages look more respectable now. In the past 10 games, he is averaging 23.7 points, 7.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds on 49.7% shooting from the field. What's more impressive is that in four of these past ten games, he's had double digit assists four times.
Another player returning from an injury, a rather serious one, was Gordon Hayward. He's taken his time to get familiar with the pace of the game and after 22 games, he seemed to have found his rhythm. In the team's most recent win against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Hayward balled out for 30 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists - all season-highs.
It would be interesting to see if the Celtics would be out for payback in this game after the Knicks stunned them at the TD Garden a couple of weeks back.
December will be a kind one for the Boston Celtics. Of their twelve games up until Christmas Day, Boston plays eight of them at home at the TD Garden. While the Boston franchise would be planning to extend their season up until June and even attempt to win the title, it's a completely different story for the Knicks.
The team is playing without their best player in Kristaps Porzingis, who is still recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee, one he suffered back in February. And the Knicks are a very young team with the roster's average age being only around 24, so the objective under new management and a new head coach would be to build a good and competitive culture, one that could last for years and eventually bring the franchise some much-needed success.
Last Time They Played
Date: Nov. 22, 2018
Score: Knicks 117, Celtics 109
Knicks: Noah Vonleh - 16 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 blocks on 66.7% shooting
Celtics: Kyrie Irving - 22 points, 13 assists, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals