The third seed against the sixth seed. On paper this one could go either way, but the Celtics have a slight edge over the Knicks and that would be experience. On the other hand, the New York Knicks have two of the top six scorers in the NBA. The Knicks score a ton of points, shoot a ton of 3-pointers, play poor defense and somehow they are in the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
Amongst New York’s players, Chauncey Billups a.k.a. “Mr. Big Shot” will be a significant asset for the Knicks due to his experience. He gives the Knicks a solid, veteran presence at a critical position. He can make 3s. He makes almost all of his free throws. He presents an interesting matchup for the Celtics in general and will be a tough rival for Rajon Rondo. Vegas odds.
The Celtics on the other hand are specialists at preventing points; no one allows fewer baskets than Doc Rivers’ pupils. The Celtics are the fifth-best team in the league defending the perimeter, allowing only 34% from beyond the arc. Another fact: Boston didn’t let Orlando beat them with the shooting from downtown last year in the conference finals, mainly because Rivers refused to double-team Dwight Howard. Quite a good strategy. Betting lines.
In conclusion nobody feels thrilled with the way the Celtics finished the season, but people also have to understand the difficulty of working out with the new players he now has in his roster… specially the ones playing in the front court. The other key for this series will be Shaq’s presence or absence. But with three days of practice and the home-court advantage, it’s hard not to like the Celtics in this series. Sports scores.
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