The Boston Celtics have cooled off a bit, but they hold one of the best records in the Eastern Conference after the first several weeks of the season. The Celtics are coming off a disappointing loss on the road against the Brooklyn Nets.
Meanwhile, the New York Knicks have continued to head south as the season has progressed along. The Knicks head into the contest on a five-game skid with their latest loss being falling short against the Philadelphia 76ers at home.
That all sets up a chance for both teams to get back in the right direction on Sunday afternoon.
Celtics hoping to bounce back on the roadAlthough the Celtics have cooled off a bit from their blazing start to the year, they still hold one of the top marks in the Eastern Conference through the first 18 games played. They have had some tremendous play from their core group throughout the year that has helped push them towards being a potential contender for the NBA title. It's still quite early in the process, but the team has the pieces in place to be a potential powerhouse in the conference. It has seen offseason addition All-Star point guard Kemba Walker step quickly as their primary offensive factor as he leads the team with 21.8 points per contest while shooting 38.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Walker is just two games removed from dropping 39 points in the win over the Brooklyn Nets. His production has waned a bit in the last few games, but he has been their leading offensive factor on the floor. Meanwhile, it has allowed for forward Jayson Tatum to further flourish in his own role on that end of the floor as he's averaging 20.6 points and 7.2 rebounds while shooting 40.9 percent shooting from the floor. Tatum has notched more than 20 points in three out of the last five games, including more than 15 points in each of those contests. His play has been particularly important with Gordon Hayward out of the lineup due to a broken hand. But it has been their defense that has been the biggest difference, giving up just 104.5 points per contest. It will need their play on the end of the floor to be the game-changing factor to get them back in the right track.
The Knicks are hoping to get out of skidIt has been nothing short of a record of a frustrating campaign for the Knicks that has seen them fall well below the .500 mark on the season. Their busy offseason hasn't made a significant impact on their play on the floor as they have fallen further into the cellar of the Eastern Conference. That has been quite evident over their five-game skid with their inability to string together any sufficient play on the offensive end of the floor, averaging 101.4 points while shooting 42.7 percent from the floor and 20.2 assists per contest. This saw them fail to top more than 104 points in any of the five games during their losing streak.
The Knicks have been led offensively by veteran forward Marcus Morris, who is averaging a career-high 18.7 points on 52.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc and 42.4 percent from the floor. Morris has been a highly consistent scoring factor as of late with more than 20 points in four out of the last five contests. That has been huge with their utter lack of offensive production. Big man Julius Randle has been a stable option in the frontcourt averaging 16.7 points and 9.1 rebounds while shooting 44.7 percent from the floor. Randle has tallied at least 14 points in each of the last five games. Meanwhile, rookie RJ Barrett has had his struggles on the floor shooting 15.3 points on 41.5 percent shooting from the floor. Barrett has shown promise with his play but has struggled with efficiency shooting lowering than 40 percent in three out of the last five contests. Ultimately, the Knicks will need a strong collective scoring performance to finally snap their losing streak.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- New York is 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games against a team with a winning% above .600.
- New York is 7-19 ATS in their last 26 games following an ATS win.
- New York is 3-13 ATS in their last 16 home games against a team with a winning road record.
- Boston is 3-1-1 ATS in their last five games following an ATS loss.
- Boston is 8-3-2 ATS in their last 13 contests when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Boston is 5-2-2 ATS in their last nine games against the Eastern Conference.