The New York Knicks will play the first of two back-to-back games on Friday, November 11. The stage is set for New York to defeat the Boston Celtics.
The New York Knicks were a pair of fourth quarter collapses away from being 5-2. Had New York not blown a fourth quarter lead against the Utah Jazz or gone cold against the Detroit Pistons, the current criticisms likely wouldn’t exist.
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Following a 110-96 victory over the Brooklyn Nets, the Knicks have a golden opportunity to get the season back on track against the Boston Celtics.
New York will travel to play Boston on Friday, November 11. It’ll be the first of two back-to-back games against division rivals, with the Knicks also traveling to play the Toronto Raptors on Saturday, November 12 at the Air Canada Centre.
It’s the game against Boston that will be New York’s opportunity to set a more positive tone for the season.
Boston will be without four-time All-Star Al Horford, who has missed the past four games as he pushes to complete the NBA’s concussion protocol. It’ll also be without starting small forward Jae Crowder, who has missed the past three games due to an ankle injury.
The Celtics have gone 0-3 during the three outings played without Crowder and Horford, including a 16-point loss to the Denver Nuggets and a 25-point loss to the Washington Wizards.
Boston could conceivably turn things around after having a day off on November 10, but this is the perfect chance for New York to catch its bitter rival while it’s weak. The Celtics’ frontcourt is depleted and the Knicks’ ranks amongst the best in the NBA.
The question is: can New York capitalize on this golden opportunity?
Carmelo Anthony will play a healthy percentage of his minutes against rookie Jaylen Brown. Brown has been impressive early in 2016-17, but Anthony should have no trouble commanding double teams and opening the floor for his teammates without Crowder on the court.
Once he does so, the Knicks must successfully space the floor and create consistent penetration.
Isaiah Thomas is an outstanding player, but Derrick Rose should be able to drive against him and an interior that’s missing its rim protector. Avery Bradley could slow Rose down, which then places the onus on Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings to pick up the slack.
The positional advantages are in New York’s favor and that should lead to victory.
Simply put, the Knicks shouldn’t lose to a team that’s down two starters. Boston has one of the deeper rosters in the NBA, but Crowder is a defensive anchor and Horford may be the best player on the team.
Even if it weren’t Crowder and Horford, New York would have no excuse to lose to a team that’s down two starters.