The shorthanded, yet still lethal, Celtics come to town as the Knicks looks to pick up a massive, measuring-stick win.

New York (35-27), has been absolutely humming recently, winning five straight, and now find themselves percentage points behind the new-look Nets for fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics (44-17), by a narrow margin, hold the best record in the NBA and look to come into Madison Square Garden and rain on the Knicks’ parade. The Knicks and Celtics have split the first two matchups so far this season, with the road team emerging victorious in each. New York is 5-4 in their last nine games against the C’s, per Land of Basketball.

Boston will be without one of their top dogs, Jaylen Brown this evening, who will not suit up for personal reasons. Brown is having a career season, averaging 26.5 points and seven rebounds, per ESPN Stats, and is a key defensive piece to a stout Celtics team that ranks in the top 10 in opponents’ points allowed and opponents’ field goal percentage, per NBA Stats. Derrick White, who is nursing an ankle injury, is probable for Boston tonight.

While JB’s absence is a big break for the Knicks, Joe Mazzulla’s Celtics are still a very good and deep team without him, having Jayson Tatum leading the charge. Tatum has established himself as an undisputed superstar in the Association and has averaged 30.5 points on 40% from three against the Knicks this year, per ESPN Stats. Expect an extra heavy dose of Tatum this evening with his sidekick on the sidelines. The Celtics have withstood a variety of injuries this year and remain on top in the east, with everyone else chasing them. Draftkings Massachusetts promo code will have all the best promotions just in time for the launch of online sports betting in Massachusetts.

Marcus Smart, who didn’t play in the last matchup, is a full-go tonight and will be a huge x-factor in this game, as he looks to neutralize the Knicks’ perimeter attack, specifically Jalen Brunson. Smart is an elite defensive player, who has the ability to greatly impact the game and can also not be ignored offensively, hitting a trio of threes in the Celtics’ victory over New York earlier in the season, per ESPN Stats.

Celtic Killer

R.J. Barrett has had a flare for the dramatic against the Celtics in the last couple of seasons, most notably, a buzzer-beater last year to win the game, as well as a huge, go-ahead corner three in the Knicks’ last victory in January. The 22-year-old has had a subpar season overall, struggling to find much consistency offensively, and has slipped a bit defensively from previous seasons. In his last game against the Pelicans, Barrett was very efficient to the tune of 25 points, seven boards and four assists on 61.5% from the field per ESPN Stats. There is a lot of ugly looking at R.J.’s box scores this season, so it was refreshing to see him play well wire to wire in a Knicks’ victory. Seems like this has been a narrative all season, but despite the good performance, it is imperative that Barrett strings together quality showings and tonight is a great chance to keep building, against a team he loves to stick it to.

Tip-off this evening from MSG is at 7:30 EST.

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