NEW YORK — The first-place Celtics begin a two-game road trip in the Big Apple with a rare noontime start against the Knicks. New York has had its share of troubles but has responded with consecutive 30-point victories over the Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic. The Knicks are beginning to resemble the team that reached the second round of the playoffs last season with their 3-point shooting and ball movement.
The Celtics have won two straight games, including Friday’s impressive win over the Denver Nuggets. The Celtics play two emotional games in the next couple of nights, Tuesday at Brooklyn and Wednesday at home against Doc Rivers and the Los Angeles Clippers.
BOSTON CELTICS (9-12)
PG Avery Bradley
SG Jordan Crawford
SF Jeff Green
PF Brandon Bass
C Jared Sullinger
Inactives: Rajon Rondo
NEW YORK KNICKS (5-13)
PG Raymond Felton
SG Iman Shumpert
SF Tim Hardaway Jr.
PF Carmelo Anthony
C Andrea Bargnani
Inactives: Tyson Chandler, Chris Smith
Officials: Ken Mauer, Sean Corbin, Derek Richardson
TV, radio: Noon, Comcast SportsNet, (WBZ FM, 98.5).
• Knicks coach Mike Woodson has decided to go extra small and replace Kenyon Martin in the starting lineup with Tim Hardaway Jr. That lineup creates tons of matchup issues for the Celtics. Jared Sullinger must defend Andrea Bargnani while Brandon Bass will be assigned to Carmelo Anthony.
• In the Knicks past two wins, Anthony is a combined 14-for-22 shooting and averaging just 19.5 points. He said after Friday’s victory over Orlando that he wanted to try something new in distributing the ball (10 combined assists) because “Me scoring 30 wasn’t working.”
• Rookie Kelly Olynyk was on the court working out lightly before the game and continues to make progress from his sprained right ankle but there is no timetable on his return. Olynyk was injured on Nov. 22 against the Indiana Pacers.
• The Celtics will practice Monday in New York in preparation for their Tuesday showdown with the Brooklyn Nets. Paul Pierce and Jason Terry will not play against the Celtics.