Celtics Get First Crack at Amare Stoudemire, New Look Knicks

Celtics Get First Crack at Amare Stoudemire, New Look Knicks So far, it’s been a backward season for the 1-1 Celtics, who won a dramatic season opener against the feared Miami Heat but stumbled a night later against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The week ahead will be a chance for the C’s to establish some consistency, taking on a familiar batch of Eastern Conference foes. It starts Friday night at Madison Square Garden, where the C’s take on a Knicks team that has a winning record for the first time since Nov. 22, 2008. (They’re 1-0.)

When and Where

Knicks at Celtics
Friday, Oct. 29, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.

Head to Head

The Celtics and Knicks are two holdovers from the original NBA, as it was created in 1946, and they’ve been squaring off ever since. The C’s have a 269-170 all-time record against the Knickerbockers; last season, they went 3-1. The one loss came on the road on April 6, in the midst of a late-season funk that threatened to derail the Celtics’ season.

Key Matchup

Kevin Garnett vs. Amare Stoudemire
The Celtics got one look at Amare the Knick this preseason, and they saw the new $100 million man go off for 30 points, aided in no small part by 15 trips to the free-throw line. They also saw KG ejected. Think there’s a connection? The Celtics need KG in the lineup to curb the threat of Amare as an athletic shot-creator and pick-and-roll machine. If KG doesn’t bring his best game defensively, Amare can beat the Celtics by himself.

Starting Lineups

Celtics
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Shaquille O’Neal

Knicks
Point guard: Raymond Felton
Shooting guard: Landry Fields
Small forward: Danilo Gallinari
Power forward: Amare Stoudemire
Center: Timofey Mozgov

Stat Sheet

Celtics

  • Kevin Garnett has 25 rebounds in his first two games. He averaged just 7.3 boards per game last season, his lowest output since his rookie year in Minnesota.
  • Rajon Rondo played a total of 80 minutes in the C’s first two contents. He’s tied with LeBron James and Brandon Roy for the NBA lead in minutes.
  • The Celtics lead the NBA in turnovers with 39.

Knicks

  • Amare Stoudemire led the NBA in scoring this preseason with 25.7 points per game.
  • Raymond Felton played 17 games against the Celtics as a member of the Charlotte Bobcats. He averaged 12.6 points and 6.4 assists.
  • Timofey Mozgov led the Russian national team with 13.0 points per game at this summer’s FIBA World Championships. Russia finished seventh in the event.

Black and Blue

Celtics

  • Semih Erden has experienced shoulder soreness recently. He has yet to make his Celtic debut.
  • Avery Bradley remains inactive as he struggles back from offseason ankle surgery.
  • Kendrick Perkins has a torn ACL and is months away from returning to the Celtics.

Knicks

  • Anthony Randolph has a sprained ankle and is expected to miss a week or two.
  • Timofey Mozgov is day-to-day with a bruised hip.
  • Kelenna Azubuike is recovering from knee surgery and could be out until 2011.

Outlook

The Amare era is underway in New York, and the Knicks suddenly have the potential to be a playoff team. No longer can the Celtics take them lightly. The C’s learned a lesson in Cleveland on Wednesday night — they can’t overlook anyone on any night, because everyone brings their A game to take down the Eastern Conference champions. No more “trap games” — it’s time for the Celtics to bear down and work for their second win of the 2010-11 season.

Yardbarker

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 191,517 other followers