The New York Knicks will host the Boston Celtics on Sunday afternoon. A look at the three players to watch for.
The New York Knicks will open their December schedule against the Boston Celtics, who have defeated coach David Fizdale’s team twice this season. For the second time, Madison Square Garden will host this matchup of Atlantic Divison teams.
Almost 24 hours away, who are the figures from this game to watch for? Who do the Knicks need to contain on Boston’s side? Let’s take a look:
After missing the first game at Madison Square Garden due to injury, Enes Kanter is healthy and should appear in Sunday’s matchup. That will mark his first time in front of Knicks fans since his final game for the team in February.
On a good Celtics team, Kanter’s role has taken a backseat in 11 appearances, including 7.5 points and 6.1 rebounds, but in just 16.5 minutes per game. Daniel Theis has taken the starting center role in the meantime.
So Kanter is hardly Boston’s centerpiece, but his return to MSG is still noteworthy for the potential crowd reaction and the chip on his shoulder, making for an entertaining afternoon.
Kemba Walker has feasted on his hometown team since joining the Atlantic Division. In two games earlier this season, he had 32 and 33 points apiece, shooting a combined 19-for-36. The Knicks have had no answer for Boston’s star point guard.
With Frank Ntilikina settled into his role, perhaps he contains Walker. However, the Frenchman played 37 minutes in the Knicks’ previous game against the Celtics, which resulted in the 33-point outing.
Walker also suffered a scary neck injury just days ago but returned after missing one game. He had 39 points against the Brooklyn Nets, so health-wise he seems fine. Sunday’s matchup will be his latest chance to torch a New York basketball team.
No, this is not a player, but the spotlight is on coach David Fizdale, as this game marks the end of the second 10-game stretch. Earlier in November, president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry said the next 10 games of the season would be another evaluation period.
Since that presser, the Knicks are 2-7, including five consecutive losses. It’s already the fourth multi-game losing streak and the longest of the young season. Fizdale needs a win to not only end this recent poor play but to close this second evaluation period on a high note. If not, who knows what will happen after the clock hits triple zeroes.