The Boston Celtics will be without key players in their Saturday night matchup against the New York Knicks. New York may also elect to rest some of its key players who played an abundance of minutes in its Friday night loss in Toronto.
Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com reported via Twitter that several key Celtics will be out for this Saturday night Atlantic Division clash.
Also, according to Blakely, Leandro Barbosa will not be with the team until at least Sunday as he is still in Boston and undergoing physicals.
For the Knicks, this may be the perfect opportunity to rest some of their starters as they begin to prepare for the beginning of the regular season.
Amar’e Stoudemire, who has been battling a dinged-up left knee, said he wasn’t sure if he was going to play in back-to-back games.
However, head coach Mike Goodson may elect to play his team at least marginally to take advantage of the remaining preseason games he’s got left.
“I’ve got to get guys on the floor as a unit in the next week in terms of trying to get some chemistry together, in terms of who my rotation is going to be," Woodson said, according to Alan Hahn of MSG Network.
|Chris Wilcox||Lower Back||Out|
|Darko Milicic||Wrist Sprain||Out|
|Leandro Barbosa||Did not travel||Out|
|Amar'e Stoudemire||Bruised Knee||Day-to-Day|
|Ronnie Brewer||Meniscus Tear||Out|
|Marcus Camby||Strained Calf||Out|
|Chris Smith||Patella Tendon||Out|
Jared Sullinger vs. Knicks Bigs
With Darko Milicic and Kevin Garnett due to get some rest, it will be up to Jared Sullinger to continue to build upon his impressive summer performance. He’ll have a tough challenge as Kurt Thomas and Amar’e Stoudemire are experienced NBA veterans that will give him a battle in the paint.
If Sullinger can keep up with the banging down low, he may be able to keep the C's in this one. If not, it may be a long learning experience for Doc Rivers’ young lineup.
Last Time They Met
These two teams squared off just one week ago in what was a close game that ended in a narrow 98-95 Knicks overtime win.
Boston had most of their regulars playing only a portion of the contest, while the Knicks held out Amar’e Stoudemire because of his bruised left knee.
Overall, the game was sloppy and the Celtics struggled offensively. They did substitute in more bench players than they typically will during the season, but it’s important for them to build up confidence in their bench because of their aging superstars.
Prediction: Knicks 94, Celtics 73
The depleted and resting Celtics will employ a very young and inexperienced lineup at Madison Square Garden. New York, on the other hand, will likely play its starters long enough to establish a lead that it will not relinquish.