Now with their six-game homestand in the rear-view mirror, the C's have to take their show on the road as they seek a sweep in their four-game season series with the New York Knicks.
Celtics (48-28) at Knicks (27-49)
Tuesday, April 6, 7:30 p.m. (CSNE)
Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.
The Celtics have had the Knicks' number for a long, long time. They beat the Knicks 107-105 in overtime at Madison Square Garden back in November, and they've had a pair of easier wins at the TD Garden in 2010. Boston has won 20 of its last 24 against New York, a streak dating back six years. It's a mighty impressive streak that may continue tonight.
Kendrick Perkins vs. David Lee
You're going to see David Lee force Perk to do something he'd rather not do, if he can avoid it: move. Lee is a strong inside presence as the Knicks' center, scoring inside and rebounding better than almost anyone in the league. But he's also got a solid mid-range shot, and he's mobile enough to hit any open spot on the floor if he sees a way to put the ball in the hole. Perk's strength is guarding bigger, slower guys in the low post, but a matchup like Lee will force him to adapt and move around the lane. He'll probably need a little help from his teammates.
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Kendrick Perkins
Point guard: Chris Duhon
Shooting guard: Bill Walker
Small forward: Danilo Gallinari
Power forward: Al Harrington
Center: David Lee
Ray Allen set season highs in points (33), field goals (10) and 3-pointers (six) in the Celtics' 117-113 win Sunday over the Cavaliers.
Paul Pierce has scored in double figures in 16 consecutive games.
Kevin Garnett has 18.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.4 steals per game against the Knicks in his career.
David Lee is averaging 11.9 rebounds per game, a career high and his third career season averaging 10-plus. In the NBA this season, only Orlando's Dwight Howard (13.3) averages more.
Tracy McGrady has played 21 games in a Knicks uniform. He is averaging 10.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists.
The Knicks have two of the NBA's top four in most 3-point field goals attempted: Danilo Gallinari (second, 446) and Al Harrington (fourth, 409).
Kendrick Perkins' left knee is feeling much better since the Celtics' center sat out two games last week to allow his tendinitis to heal.
Tracy McGrady is questionable after missing Sunday's game against the L.A. Clippers with left knee soreness.
Wilson Chandler is out for the season with a strained left groin.
It's all about avoiding a post-Cleveland meltdown. There's no doubt that the Celtics are the better team taking the floor at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night — it's simply a question of whether the C's show up ready to compete, keep their heads on straight and execute the game plan. With six games to go until the postseason tips off, Doc Rivers has to stress the importance of smart team basketball. If the C's play like a true team on Tuesday night, they should be in good shape.