Expert Cappers Picks
National Basketball Association
Preview
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
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Boston 41-19 W1 21-11 19-8 5-4 36-15 9-3 26-13
New York 24-36 W1 16-12 8-24 1-6 23-30 6-6 12-24
Last Meeting
Boston New York
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
1/31/18 NY 73 BOS 103 103 49 48.2 73 44 32.2
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Boston M. Morris 20 66.7 6
New York E. Kanter 17 70.0 3
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Boston T. Rozier 11 1 10
New York E. Kanter 17 5 12
Assists Player  
Boston T. Rozier 10
New York J. Jack 4
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Boston K. Irving 1358 48.5 217
New York K. Porzingis 1109 43.7 223
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Boston A. Horford 444 84 360
New York E. Kanter 607 206 401
Assists Player  
Boston A. Horford 289
New York J. Jack 342
Quickchart Matchup
Boston Boston Off vs  New York New York Defense
Boston Off vs New York - Points For 103.3 Points For
Boston Off vs New York - Points Against 106.2 Points Against
Boston - FG% 44.7 FG%
New York - FG% 45.4 FG%
Boston - Reb 44.3 Reb
New York - Reb 42.1 Reb
New York New York Off vs  Boston Boston Defense
New York Off vs Boston - Points For 103.9 Points For
New York Off vs Boston - Points Against 99.6 Points Against
New York - FG% 46.3 FG%
Boston - FG% 43.4 FG%
New York - Reb 44.3 Reb
Boston - Reb 44.2 Reb