1. The Ailing Rajon Rondo: The Celtics are only 4-4 in their last 8 and this is largely due to the major slump that Rondo is in. Prior to Boston’s win against the Hornets, Rondo had scored only 4 points in his last 3 games, on 2-18 shooting. His assists for the month of March are down from his 11.6 average on the season to 8.8. Their are whispers that Rondo is suffering from plantar fasciitis, a sore right ankle, and he was also seen icing his hand in the win against the Hornets. With Rajon Rondo not performing at his usual pace, it makes it that much easier to slow down the Celtics’ offense.
2. Superstar Showdown: It’s become apparent to every Knick fan that the team as a whole simply comes out with much better energy against good teams, look for the Knicks to come out with effort on both ends. Also dont think Amare Stoudemire forgot about the trash talking from our last meeting and Paul Pierce’s “bow”.
3.Matchups: Post Kendrick Perkins trade, the Knicks match up much better with Boston then they did before. With both O’Neal’s injured, a frontline of KG, Kristic, Big Baby, and Jeff Green isn’t actually too imposing. Compared to Perkins, a guy like Jeff Green is much easier for the Knicks to cope with. One concern however, will be Amare stepping out to prevent Big Baby and KG from getting open looks on the Pick and Roll.
4. Desperation: Lets face it the Knicks NEED this win. With increasing criticism coming from every corner of the Melo-trade the team will come out desperate and with everything they have in order to avoid hearing the boo-birds in front of a Garden crown that is getting tired of mediocre play. Look for Carmelo in particular, to make his stamp on the Boston-NY rivalry by delivering a win to the Garden faithful.
Prediction: Knicks 106 Boston 102. Carmelo hits a dagger with 16.7 seconds left to seal the game, and informs the Celtics that this is now his house.