Game Preview: Knicks at Celtics

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics (0-1) will continue their preseason campaign at 7:30 p.m. tonight when they host the New York Knicks (0-0) at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I.

Boston is two days removed a 97-89 loss to the Toronto Raptors in its preseason opener. The C’s allowed Toronto to shoot 52.1 percent from the field and acknowledge that they must improve their defense as the preseason continues.

“We can get a lot better defensively in what we’re trying to do,” Brad Stevens said following Tuesday’s practice. “Some of those things are very correctable.”

While Stevens didn’t go into detail regarding what the C’s needed to improve upon, Kris Humphries did. Humphries said the team needs to improve its communication and operate as if it’s on a string.

“Basically it’s help-and-recover,” he said. “If a guy leaves the basket to help a guard, someone has to drop down and take his spot. I think some of that stuff is more of getting in a flow defensively, the same way you talk about, well, our flow offensively. There’s that same concept on defense.”

The Celtics might need to improve their defense without the presence of several guards. Jordan Crawford has been ruled out of tonight’s game as he deals with a personal matter, and MarShon Brooks’ status is up in the air due to a migraine that surfaced during Tuesday’s practice. Additionally, Avery Bradley was seen with a wrap on his left hand following Tuesday’s session and it’s unknown whether he will play or not.

All of those factors will result in rookie Phil Pressey receiving a solid chunk of playing time tonight. He did not play in Monday’s opener, but that was the plan all along.

“You’ll see a lot more of Phil Pressey, which is good. I’m really looking forward to that. I think he’s done a great job,” said Stevens. “I knew that prior to [Monday] night’s game, that’s why I didn’t play Phil [Monday] night and I played Jordan (Crawford) a couple of more minutes.”

Pressey is going to face quite a challenge during his first true NBA game. The Knicks are loaded at point guard, with Raymond Felton holding down the starting spot and Pablo Prigioni and Beno Udrih backing him up. All three of those players have proven to be effective NBA floor generals and are likely to play tonight, albeit limited minutes.

Many other Knicks will be in that same category, including Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire. Mike Woodson has stated that he’s unlikely to leave his veterans on the floor for extended minutes. That means we won’t get a true look at this new Knicks team, which added Metta World Peace, Andrea Bargnani and others this offseason.

Regardless of who is or is not on the floor for New York, the Celtics know that they must play at a higher level than they did Monday night. The preseason is all about getting better, and this is their second opportunity to improve against another team.