National Basketball Association
Boston at New York
When: 7:30 PM ET, Saturday, February 24, 2018
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
The Boston Celtics emerged from the All-Star break looking more like the team that led the Eastern Conference for the bulk of the first half of the season. They will try to build upon a solid showing in a win at Detroit when they wrap up a road back-to-back at the New York Knicks on Saturday.
Rookie Daniel Theis paced a balanced attack with a career-high 19 points in Boston's 110-98 victory over the Pistons, snapping the team's three-game slide and pulling it within a game of first-place Toronto in the East. Kyrie Irving produced 18 points and Jayson Tatum added 15 for the Celtics, who are 6-4 in the second half of back-to-backs but 5-2 when they come on the road. The Knicks dropped eight straight games before the break but snapped the skid with a 120-113 victory at Orlando on Thursday. Trey Burke came off the bench to post a season-high 26 points to go along with six assists as New York tied its season high for scoring, first accomplished against Phoenix in the eighth game of the season.TV:
7:30 p.m. ET, NBCS Boston, MSG (New York)ABOUT THE CELTICS (41-19):
Boston's bench outscored Detroit's by a whopping 65-21 margin, as Theis was one of four reserves to score at least 11 points, including Marcus Smart (12 points) in his return from a hand laceration. "Felt great. This training staff did a good job of making sure I was still in shape and ready to come back when I did come back and stay on track," Smart said. "It was a good team win tonight." Smart, who had missed 11 consecutive games, is averaging 12.7 points while shooting 45.3 percent - well above his season mark of 36.1 - since the start of January.ABOUT THE KNICKS (24-36):
Burke was 12-for-22 from the floor in 30 minutes, displaying an aggressive approach that could yield some positive results for a team playing the stretch run without leading scorer Kristaps Porzingis. "I know Trey can put the ball in the hole and he can get hot," coach Jeff Hornacek told reporters. "He controls the pace, he's a guy that can get things going. But defensively I thought he was the key. ... Trey was great on both sides of the court." Another positive came in the play of Tim Hardaway Jr., who broke out of a long slump with 37 points in the final game before the break before chipping in 23 against the Magic.BUZZER BEATERS
1. Hardaway is 23-for-43 from the floor in his two-game surge after going 24-for-93 over his previous seven contests.
2. Celtics C Aron Baynes left Friday's win with elbow soreness and is day-to-day.
3. Boston won two of the first three meetings and recorded its largest margin of victory this season with a 103-73 triumph over New York at home on Jan. 31.PREDICTION:
Celtics 104, Knicks 100
Stats and Records