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Celtics Look to Tie Series

After struggling against the Knicks in Saturday’s series opener, the Boston Celtics will look to even-up the first-round series on Tuesday night as the team returns to Madison Square Garden.

Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 PM ET.

Having been usurped at the top of the Atlantic Division this season, Boston is striving to avoid elimination at the hands of New York, the team currently wearing the division crown.

The Knicks meanwhile will be hoping to dump the Celtics from the playoffs for the first time since 1990. A victory in Game 2 would move the Manhattan side that much closer to achieving that particular feat.

Game 1 Recap

Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith helped lead the Knicks past the Celtics in Game 1.

Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith helped lead the Knicks past the Celtics in Game 1.

Saturday’s opening matchup was hardly the thing of legend. Both sides looked scrappy for much of the game, and a final score of 85-78 in favor of the Knicks was indicative of two sides that struggled.

Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 36 points, but barring a solid first and final quarter, the All-Star forward had a tough time of it, shooting just 13-29 on the night.

As has become custom, Anthony got help off the bench from Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith (15pts) while Raymond Felton (13pts) and Kenyon Martin (10pts) both scored in double digits. The rest of the side though accounted for just 11 points, with only Jason Kidd and Iman Shumpert making the scorer’s list.

New York wasn’t even close to its season average of 100 points per game, but 85 points proved enough to fend-off a Boston side that took 14 fewer shots during the game.

Jeff Green paced the Celtics with 26 points in 46 minutes, while Paul Pierce (21pts) and Avery Bradley (15pts) chipped in. Kevin Garnett was restricted to just eight points but got it done defensively, tallying nine rebounds and a block.

But the Celtics’ bench added just four points, not nearly enough to give the starters a chance. 20 turnovers didn’t help either.

Despite losing the game, the Celtics managed to cover the spread (+7.5), just. Boston covered the spread in its opening meeting with New York this season, but the Knicks had covered in the next three outings. It was a rare cover for a team that struggles to beat the spread away from Bean Town.

The total (189) went under by some margin, marking the fourth straight game between the sides to do so. The 26-point differential between the final score and the predicted total was the largest deficit in the head-to-head series this season.

Game 2 Betting Options

Boston will look to pick itself up after Game 1's disappointment.

Boston will look to pick itself up after Game 1’s disappointment.

The Knicks entered the series as favorites (-370), with bookmakers favoring the series to go just five games (12/5). A win for New York on Tuesday night will keep that trend looking very much like a reality. A win for Boston however suggests this series may be moving on to the later games.

Once again, New York enters Madison Square Garden as the favorite, with the spread at 7.

New York (46-35-1 ATS) was far superior against the spread this season than Boston (37-41-3 ATS). The Manhattan side’s home form (25-6-0 ATS) during the regular season also eclipsed Boston’s road record (15-24-2 ATS).

However, as Saturday showed, the Celtics shouldn’t be counted out completely. The Massachusetts side is currently 2-3-0 ATS when playing the Knicks this season. That being said, New York has not lost consecutive games against the spread since Mar. 13-14, a span of 20 games.

After Game 1’s low scoring affair, the total for this game opened at 186, the lowest mark for any game between the two sides this season.

During the regular season, New York (40-40-2) split the over/under evenly while Boston (42-38-1) marginally favored the over. As we’ve seen though; three regular season outings saw the total go under, and Saturday’s game made it four straight. The under may well be the smarter bet.



GAME 1: Boston 78, New York 85 (New York leads series 1-0)

GAME 2: Boston at New York (Tue, Apr. 23, 8:00 PM ET)

GAME 3: New York at Boston (Fri, Apr. 26, 8:00 PM ET)

GAME 4: New York at Boston (Sun, Apr. 28, 1:00 PM ET)

GAME 5: Boston at New York (Wed, May 1, TBC) *

GAME 6: New York at Boston (Fri, May 3, TBC) *

GAME 7: Boston at New York (Sun, May 5, TBC) *

*If necessary

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