NEW YORK — The Celtics hit the road for the first of a back-to-back set, trying to beat the New York Knicks for the third time this season. Boston crushed the Knicks on Dec, 8 at the Garden, leading wire-to-wire for a 114-73 win. The Celtics had six players in double figures, including former Celtic Jordan Crawford with 23. Five days later, the Celtics rallied to beat New York at TD Garden 90-86 as Jared Sullinger scored 19 and former Celtic Courtney Lee tallied 15 off the bench.
The Celtics have lost 17 of 20 games since plateauing at 12-14 but enter Tuesday four games behind the Charlotte Bobcats for the final playoff spot.
BOSTON CELTICS (15-31)
PG Rajon Rondo
SG Gerald Wallace
SF Jeff Green
PF Brandon Bass
C Jared Sullinger
Inactives: Keith Bogans, Avery Bradley
NEW YORK KNICKS (17-27)
PG Raymond Felton
SG Pablo Prigioni
SF Iman Shumpert
PF Carmelo Anthony
C Tyson Chandler
Inactives: Andrea Bargnani, Amar’e Stoudemire
Officials: Tom Washington, Kevin Cutler, Michael Smith
TV, radio: 7:30 p.m., CSNNE, WZLX-FM (100.7)
• Jerryd Bayless is back in the Celtics lineup after missing the past five games with a sprained left big toe. Bayless said the injury prevented him from running and cutting but was able to participate in the team’s shootaround Tuesday morning and declared healthy enough to play. Meanwhile, Avery Bradley (who is recovering from a sprained ankle) did not make the trip to New York.
• Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Rajon Rondo will play tonight and could even play Wednesday against the Philadelphia 76ers. Rondo did not play in the Celtics’ first back-to-back set last week but he may be healthy enough to go Wednesday.
• The Knicks will get Kenyon Martin back from a five-game absence with a sprained ankle. He will be available off the bench for the Knicks along with Metta World Peace. Andrea Bargnani is out for New York with a torn elblow ligament along with Amar’e Stoudemore with a sprained left ankle and bone bruise.
• The Celtics will return home to face the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday before three days off and then a Super Bowl Sunday home matchup with the Orlando Magic.