Celtics Subs Face Knicks Subs In the Season Finale


New York Knicks (42-39) at Boston Celtics (55-26) 
Wednesday, April 13
8:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #82, Home Game #41
TV:  CSNNE,  MSG,  LP 750-751
Radio:  WEEI
TD Garden
Referees:  Steve Javie, Kevin Cutler, Derrick Stafford
This is a preview of the first round of the playoffs, kind of.   The Knicks are playing in back to back games and they played their starters in the first game vs the Bulls.  Knowing that the Celtics are sitting their stars, expect the Knicks to do the same.  I am just taking a wild guess as to who they are going to start as they don't have a starting lineup for this game listed in their media notes as yet but I'm pretty sure it won't be their regular starters. 

With nothing to prove or accomplish in this game for either team, the best thing that will come of it is that the Celtics reserves, many of whom are new to the team since the trade deadline, will get some much needed playing time and hopefully gain confidence and experience in the Celtics system.  It may be to some extent a preview of the depth of both teams as the reserves for both teams battle each other.

The Knicks are just 19-21 on the road while the Celtics are 32-8 at home.  The Celtics are 5-5 in their last 10 games while the Knicks are 7-3 in their last 10.  The Knicks had won 7 in a row before losing on Tuesday to the Bulls. The Celtics have lost 2 in a row, with the last loss coming from the reserves against the Wizards on Monday. 

This should be a game that proves nothing but will give the Celtics reserves some very valuable experience and playing time and will give the Celtics starters some very much needed rest.  Let the playoffs begin!!

Probable Starters
PG: Carlos Arroyo
SG: Von Wafer
SF: Jeff Green
PF: Glen Davis
C:  Nenad Krstic

Celtics Reserves
Jermaine O'Neal
Avery Bradley
Troy Murphy
Sasha Pavlovic
Paul Pierce
Rajon Rondo
Ray Allen
Kevin Garnett

Shaquille O'Neal (calf) day to day
Delonte West  (ankle)  day to day

PG: Toney Douglas
SG:  Roger Mason, Jr
SF:  Bill Walker
PF:  Shawne Williams
C:  Ronny Turiaf 

Knicks Reserves

Derrick Brown
Carmelo Anthony
Jared Jeffries
Shelden Williams
Landry Fields
Toney Douglas
Anthony Carter
Renaldo Balkman
Chauncey Billups

Amar'e Stoudamire (ankle) day to day
Andy Rautins (knee)  out

Key Matchups
Jeff Green vs Bill Walker
Green was impressive in his first start against the Wizards.  Getting him more experience and confidence in the Celtics' system is key in this game.  Walker played very well against the Bulls on Tuesday night and so this should be an interesting matchup. 

Von Wafer vs Roger Mason, Jr
With Delonte's status unknown, the Celtics may need Wafer in the playoffs.  After the disastrous dunk attempt in the last game he needs to have a good game to build his confidence in case he is needed in the playoffs. 

Keys to the Game
Defense -  This will be the classic battle between offense vs defense.  Even if it is the second and third strings against each other, the Celtics must play defense.  The Celtics second unit has to be strong when they come in the games and so this will be very good experience for them and they need to prove they can defend well. 

Be Aggressive
- The Celtics are best when they take the ball to the basket and either get the score or the foul or kick the ball out for an open shot.   They also have to be aggressive in going after loose balls and rebounds.  The Celtics reserves have been inconsistent in this area in recent games and so it will be good for them to build this mindset in this game.   

Confidence - Just as important as resting the starters, the playing time that the bench players get will go a long way to build their confidence going into the playoffs.  The Celtics reserves have been very inconsistent and they have to use this opportunity to their advantage and be aggressive and build their confidence going into the playoffs. 

Official Report
Steve Javie
Steve Javie has been officiating games since the 1986-87 season and has officiated over 1,300+ regular season games, 190+ play-off games, and 18 NBA Finals games. He had refereed in the Finals every year since 1995 up until last year when he missed the playoffs with a knee injury. He is one of the more respected referees in the league by most fans but he is not without controversy. He was fined for telling Pat Riley “It‘s giving us absolute delight to watch you and your team die.” He also isn't very well liked in Portland after tossing their broadcaster, Mike Rice, from a game. He was also once threatened by Sheed when he played in Portland. Javie's career was in jeopardy when he missed last year's playoffs with knee problems. He joins players like Wally Sczcerbiak, Jermaine O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and Brandon Roy who have knees that are reportedly bone on bone. The Celtics are 2-2 this season. One of the losses was in Phoenix where Javie called 2 technical fouls on Doc and tossed him and then called 2 on KG and tossed him as well and then called one on Perk and Nate. No T's were called on the Suns although some were warranted. The 6 free throws and ejections ended a run by the Celtics and sealed the loss for them. The Celtics are 6-4 in their last 10 with Javie calling the games while the Knicks are 2-1 this season and 5-5 in their last 10 with Javie. Javie's home W/L record is 29-19 this season.

Kevin Cutler
This is Cutler's first full season as an NBA referee. He was part of a program last season where D-League officials were brought in to call a few games for evaluation purposes. Cutler stands out among his peers for one thing, and that is his size. He is the tallest referee in the league, standing 6'8" tall and weighing 270 lbs. He played power forward for two years at Long Beach State, from 1989 to 1991, and was a teammate of NBA players Bryon Russell and Lucious Harris and was their enforcer. It would be nice to have a referee sympathetic to the plight of the big guys on the team who are playing the role of enforcer. The Celtics are 3-0 this season with Cutler calling the game and those games were well officiated. He hasn't called any Knicks games prior to this one. His home W/L record is 33-23.

Derrick Stafford
Stafford is currently in his 20th season as an NBA referee. He has officiated 1,000+ regular season games and 60+ play-off games. He worked for the US Postal Service for 10 years, which may explain his quick trigger when it comes to technical fouls. He is yet another official that is known to be quick to call technical fouls. The Celtics are 1-0 this season with Stafford and that game was poorly called with most of the calls going to the Bobcats. The Celtics are 7-3 in their last 10 games with Stafford on the court. The Knicks are 3-2 this season and 5-5 over their last 10 games with Stafford. His home W/L record is 35-32.

Team Depth
Since the Knicks are playing in back to back games and their starters played against Bulls on Tuesday night, I expect them to sit their starters in this one. Doc has already said that he will be resting his starters again, including Jermaine O'Neal.    With reserves playing against reserves the deeper team will more than likely get the win.