Julius Randle driving to hoop, defended by Jayson Tatum

Oct 20, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) during the first quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

  • The New York Knicks travel to Boston to take on a Celtics team on a back-to-back
  • Both teams have significant player losses due to COVID health and safety protocols
  • The odds and matchups can be found below with a prediction

Two underachieving squads will be undermanned Saturday night, when the New York Knicks are in Boston to take on the Celtics.

After finishing at the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference last year, New York is a dismal 13-16 to start the season, sitting 12th in the East, 1.5 games back of the 10th and final spot for the play-in.

That’s the spot currently occupied by the Celtics, who will be playing their second night of a back-to-back, trying to get back to .500 after a loss to the Golden State Warriors.

Tip-off goes at 7pm ET from TD Garden, where the home side is a 4.5-point favorite. The game can be seen live on NBA TV.

Knicks vs Celtics Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
New York Knicks +162 +4.5 (-110) OFF
Boston Celtics -190 -4.5 (-110) OFF

Odds as of Dec 17 at FanDuel

New York Outlook

New York snapped an ugly four game skid last time out, beating the Houston Rockets 116-103, a scoring boon for them, considering they had averaged just 95.5 points in their last four games.

Julius Randle had 21 points, six rebounds and six dimes, while Evan Fournier chipped in with 23 on 8-for-12 shooting.

Immanuel Quickley provided a spark off the bench, drilling seven triples en route to a game-high 24 points, to go along with four rebounds and four assists.

Unfortunately, Quickley is the latest Knick to get sidelined by COVID health and safety protocols, which was just announced Friday night. He joins RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Obi Toppin and Quentin Grimes currently out.

For a team that ranks 23rd in scoring at 105.8 points per game, that’s a lot of spark in street clothes. It’s getting to the point where Tom Thibodeau may dust off veteran Kemba Walker, who was moved out of the rotation for his ineffectiveness.

Second-round pick Miles McBride will likely see more run too. He played a career-high 36 minutes in Thursday’s win over the Rockets, potting 15 points.

Boston Outlook

The Celtics’ frontcourt has been thinned, as forwards Al Horford, Grant Williams, Jabari Parker and Juancho Hernangomez are into the health and safety protocols for Boston.

Horford and Williams were integral parts of the Celts’ last win, snapping a three-game slide as they waxed the Milwaukee Bucks 117-103. Williams led the bench attack with 17 points and seven boards, while Horford had 10 points, four rebounds and five assists.

That depth was missing as they hosted the Warriors Friday night. The NBA’s best team kept on rolling in a 111-107 win, despite Boston firing 15-for-41 from deep (37.5%) and 44.2% from the field.

Jayson Tatum, coming off a 42-point effort against the Bucks, led the Celtics in scoring against the Dubs, with 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Marcus Smart added 19 points and eight assists, while Jaylen Brown chipped in with 20 and nine boards.

Boston’s defense has been a strength at home of late. Prior to their game with GState, they were 5-1 in their last six at home, holding teams to under 103 points per contest.

Guard Dennis Schroder (non-COVID illness) missed the Warriors game, and his status for Saturday is still not known.

Knicks vs Celtics Pick

This will be the second meeting between these two. The first will be remembered as one of the most memorable opening night games in recent NBA history, with Knicks prevailing in double OT 138-134. Brown led the Celtics with 46, while Randle had 35. Fournier had a brilliant Knicks debut, scoring 32.

Boston is 7-5 straight up at home, but just 5-6 ATS, while New York is a surprising 8-6 both straight up and ATS on the road.

Look for star power to shine in this one. While Boston has some key pieces missing and will be playing a second straight night, Tatum and Brown are healthy and should have their way against an undermanned Knicks team, especially on the wings.

The Pick: Celtics -4.5 (-110)

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Eric Rosales

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