After uneven start, Knicks have true measuring stick game against Celtics

New York Knicks RJ Barrett and Jalen Brunson (D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Knicks RJ Barrett and Jalen Brunson (D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports) /
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The New York Knicks prepare for a measuring stick game against the Boston Celtics. 

The New York Knicks will try and avenge the defeat they suffered early this season against the Boston Celtics in what will be another early measuring stick game in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics have looked solid early and their entire starting lineup is capable of shooting the 3 consistently and their ball movement has been fluid.

As for the Knicks, they are a team that should not be underestimated. Jalen Brunson has been great so far and has emerged as the unquestioned leader of the team as he leads the 5-4 Knicks into a hostile TD Garden.

A rundown on the New York Knicks

The Knicks have won six of the last 10 games against their long-time rivals and they only lost the last matchup by four points. The Knicks are deep and take pride in playing scrappy, hard-nosed defense. Donte DiVicenzo was a great addition as he does all of the small things that don’t show up on the stat sheet.

Whenever he is on the floor, he elevates the Knicks’ level of play with his hustle, rebounding, running the floor in transition, anticipating passing lanes, and helping on the defensive end. If Julius Randle plays smarter and is willing to be more aggressive in the paint, then the Knicks could be better off as he is a dangerous post threat. His shot selection has been questionable as of late as he is shooting 34 percent overall and shooting an abysmal 26 percent from behind the arc.

His scoring average has also decreased from 25.1 to 17.2 per game and Randle has to be more aware of the shots he is taking and become more efficient. He will have to be on point against the Celtics who owns the 3rd best defensive rating in the NBA. Randle and Brunson had a combined 29 points in their last game versus the Celtics and both players will have to produce in order for the Knicks to have a chance.

If the duo struggles to score again, they will have to find other ways to impact the game and try to get their teammates involved. Even when Randle struggles from the field he often makes up for it with his rebounding and assist totals. Immanuel Quickley has easily been the Knicks’ best player off the bench and is instant offense whenever he enters the game.

Quickley scored 24 points in 28 minutes the last time these two teams met and the Knicks will need his scoring prowess once again if they hope to get an important win against their division rival.