Celtics vs Knicks Picks, Prediction Today | Saturday, Feb. 24

Celtics vs Knicks Picks, Prediction Today | Saturday, Feb. 24 article feature image
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Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics drives to the basket against Josh Hart #3 of the New York Knicks during the second half at TD Garden. (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)

Celtics vs. Knicks Prediction, Picks for Saturday, Feb. 24

Saturday, Feb. 24
8:30 p.m.
ABC
Kristaps Porzingis Over 18.5 Points

Here's everything you need to know about Celtics vs. Knicks on Saturday, Feb. 24 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today.

New York got a much-needed win on Thursday against Philadelphia to snap a four-game losing streak. The Knicks are trying to overcome some injuries to key players, as Julius Randle and OG Anunoby aren't expected to rejoin the team until early March.

As a result, they've had to turn their bench, as head coach Tom Thibodeau inserted Josh Hart and Precious Achiuwa into the starting lineup. Both players have logged at least 30 minutes in their last 30 games.

Interestingly, Achiuwa was almost an afterthought in the trade with Toronto that brought over Anunoby. New York later added Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks at the trade deadline to strengthen their bench even further.

Coming out of the All-Star break, the Knicks likely had some extra time to integrate their new players into the team. But beating a 76ers team without the reigning MVP, Joel Embiid, is one thing. It's another to try and topple the Celtics, who visit the Big Apple on Saturday night with the best record in the league at 44-12.

This is the type of game where we can learn a lot about the depth of this Knicks' roster. And while I'm bullish on their postseason chances moving forward, I'm not thrilled with backing a shorthanded team.

Instead, I prefer to dip my toes in the props market after identifying a player scoring prop that's an absolute must-bet for this game.

Let's get to our Celtics vs. Knicks prediction and pick.


Celtics vs. Knicks Prediction

Pick: Kristaps Porzingis over 18.5 points (-130 via betPARX)

Celtics Betting Outlook

The Celtics haven't just been good this season; they've also been a bit lucky. But not in the sense that they've been fortunate to rack up as many wins as they have. The part where they've been lucky is that they've managed to avoid the injury bug so far.

Boston has four starters that played at least 50 of its 56 games this season. In comparison, only Jalen Brunson has started 50 or more games for the Knicks. So, when we think about how good this Celtics team has been, let's keep in mind that they've largely avoided any significant injuries.

Even Kristaps Porzingis, who missed some time with different injuries, started 41 games for the Celtics.

The Celtics' ability to consistently put out a starting lineup with quality players is a big part of their success. There's no use in bombarding you with all their key metrics because we already know this is a highly exceptional team.

But if there's one Boston stat that fully captures the Celtics' dominance, it's their point differential. On average, Boston is outscoring its opponents by 10.2 points per game.

According to Statmuse.com, only 12 teams finished the season with a double-digit point differential, and eight of them went on to win the NBA title. With a 66.7% hit ratio, it'll be interesting to see if this Celtics team can add themselves to that list when all is said and done.


Knicks Betting Outlook

I mentioned that I'm bullish on the Knicks, and I've already looked into how I'd bet their futures. I think this a team that has all the necessary pieces to compete (when healthy) and make a legitimate run in the Eastern Conference.

Whether they have enough to get past the Celtics remains to be seen.

The Knicks did a tremendous job in addressing their weaknesses in the trade market. Anunoby is an elite defender, and his arrival catapulted New York to the league's best month-to-month improvement in points allowed per game.

New York's opponents averaged 124.4 points against them in December, and in January, that number dropped to 100.0.

But now I'm interested in the other pieces they added at the trade deadline with Bogdanovic and Burks. Both are elite perimeter players, shooting better than 40% from beyond the arc.

Given how the modern game is played today, there's no question the Knicks needed to beef up their perimeter shooting. One reason the Celtics have such an impressive point differential is because they lead the league with the most 3-point field goals (16.4) and attempts (42.8).

That's why I prefer using this game as a fact-finding mission to see whether the Knicks' new additions can keep pace with the Celtics on the perimeter.


Celtics vs. Knicks Picks, Odds

Saturday, Feb 24
8:30pm ET
ABC
Celtics Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-6
-108
225
-108o / -112u
-225
Knicks Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+6
-112
225
-108o / -112u
+185
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

That's enough preamble for now. Let's get to our picks.

My best bet for this game is Porzingis going over his scoring prop of 18.5 points at betPARX. Porzingis spent his first three NBA seasons in New York before being traded to the Dallas Mavericks.

To say that his time in New York ended acrimoniously would be putting it mildly. In 2019, Ricky O'Donnell of SBNation.com wrote that a trade request came from Porzingis after his growing frustration with the organization's "persistent losing and long-time dysfunction."

With Madison Square Garden known as “The Mecca of Basketball,” opposing superstars are always willing to put on a show. Just go back and look at Michael Jordan's performances at the Garden or even Kobe Bryant's games.

While I'm not saying Porzingis is on their level, he does have a history with the team and should have extra motivation to play well.

In three games against the Knicks this season, he's averaging 24 points and dropped 30 in his last visit to the Garden. He's also scored at least 21 games in six straight games against the Knicks.

In speaking with the media following Boston's 129-112 victory over Chicago on Thursday, Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum shared some interesting comments comparing his game to the other MVP candidates around the league.

"I won't have the points per game that the other three or four guys will, but I think the voters are smart enough to understand the dynamic of our team…" Tatum said. "I know I can score 30 a night, but that's not necessarily what this team needs on a nightly basis. Taking that step back, in a sense, for us to be better. I've done everything but win a championship."

Those comments really highlight Tatum's growth and maturity in his seventh season. His willingness to step back adds further credence to Porzingis possibly being the centerpiece of Boston's attack on Saturday night.

Pick: Kristaps Porzingis over 18.5 points (-130 via betPARX)

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Nick Sterling
May 21, 2024 UTC