Do the Celtics need a J.R. Smith-like, 35-foot prayer in Game 3, or will playing at TD Garden suffice? Folks with money on the line have installed the Celtics as 3-point favorites Friday night. The Knicks were favored by 6.5 points in Game 2. Part of that 9.5-point swing is due to the house trying to get more action on the bet, but it's also an indication that a closer game is expected. The C's were 27-13 at home this season and are 14-29 on the road (including the first two games vs. the Knicks), so a close game seems in the cards.
The TD Garden crowd is the best in the league, and as much as the Celtics don't want to make this about the tragic events of last week, there's bound to be an emotional boost. The Celtics averaged 98.5 points at home this season compared to 94.6 on the road. For a team that has struggled mightily on offense in the first two games, those extra points will be welcome.
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Here are the details for tonight's game:
Tipoff: 8 p.m.
Series: New York leads the best-of-seven series, 2-0
Broadcast info:Television: ESPN; Radio: WEEI (93.7 FM)
Celtics: PG: Avery Bradley SG: Paul Pierce SF: Jeff Green PF: Brandon Bass C: Kevin Garnett
Knicks: PG: Raymond Felton SG: Pablo Prigioni SF: Iman Shumpert PF: Carmelo Anthony C: Tyson Chandler
Injury note: Kevin Garnett (hip pointer) practiced in a limited role Thursday and is expected to play in Game 3.
Where will the offense come from?: Being at home will help, but the Celtics don't have an easy solution for their lack of scoring. They aren't going to get Rajon Rondo back, and they don't have a point guard to replace him. Jason Terry keeps talking about the Celtics getting out in transition; it's the only time he can get free for jumpers. As Doc Rivers noted Thursday, transition baskets don't come often in the playoffs.
KG's touches: Kevin Garnett has made four shots in each of his first two games, attempting 21 shots in total. Boston has struggled getting him the ball on the block in positions where he can go to work. That's going to require better spacing and crisp passing, which is just about the only thing the Celtics have been working on. We'll see if it clicks tonight.
Stat of the day: Including the playoffs, the Celtics are now 41-42 on the season.