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Boston Celtics @ New York Knicks (+5.5), NBATV, 7:30 PM ET:

When the New York Knicks host the Boston Celtics on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, they will try for their first win of the young NBA season.

The Knicks suffered a 120-111 loss at San Antonio in the season opener and on Friday night, they were defeated by their crosstown rivals the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Bench player Allonzo Trier led the Knicks with 22 points and rookie RJ Barrett contributed 16 points, three assists, three rebounds and six steals, but the Nets came away with a 113-109 victory behind a 26-point performance from superstar point guard Kyrie Irving.

Irving also had five assists, three steals and two rebounds for the Nets, who improved to 1-1 on the season after they suffered an overtime loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the season opener.

Julius Randle finished with 14 points, 11 rebounds and four assists and Marcus Morris Sr. had 11 points for the Knicks.

The Boston Celtics, on the other hand, bounced back after a season-opening 107-93 away loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.

Jayson Tatum finished with 25 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals and Jaylen Brown contributed 25 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two blocks for the Celtics in a 112-106 victory over the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors at the TD Garden in Boston.

The newly-acquired Kemba Walker added 22 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks, and Gordon Hayward chipped in 15 points, eight rebounds and two assists for Boston.

Daniel Theis left the game in the second quarter with a sprained left ankle, but returned in the third period, Enes Kanter had a left knee contusion, Tacko Fall was in concussion protocol, and Romeo Langford was dealing with a sore right knee. Both Fall and Langford were inactive.

The Celtics were able to get to 1-1 on the season, but the Knicks fell to 0-2 and will now play host at Madison Square Garden.

Look, there’s no doubt about it that the Knicks are bitter that they didn’t land any big-time free agents in the offseason like Irving or Kevin Durant or Kawhi Leonard.

However, they did land some pretty solid players in Marcus Morris, Julius Randle, Elfrid Payton and obviously drafted the Duke-product RJ Barrett, who could potentially end up being the star they need.

The Celtics are obviously the better team right now and I do believe they will win this game. But there’s something weird about this spread that says to roll with the Knicks in their home opener at MSG.

The Knicks lost two close games to the Spurs and Nets and I could see this game being another close one. Roll with New York plus the points and don’t think twice about it.

Take the Knicks plus 5.5 points here.

Pick: New York Knicks (+5.5)

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By Dan Canova

Article Author

Expert handicapper known for his deep knowledge of all things NBA and his ability to pick winners.


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