Pregame Post-Ups: C's To See Familiar Face Tonight

Friday, February 1 - Celtics at Knicks

Pregame – Knicks Trade Will Lead to C's Seeing Familiar Face Tonight

NEW YORK – New York’s unfamiliar lineup will lead to the Celtics seeing a familiar face tonight at Madison Square Garden.

Kadeem Allen, whom the Celtics chose with the 53rd overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, is in line for big minutes tonight for the Knicks.

Allen was with the Celtics on a two-way contract all of last season but was waived by the team on July 15. He went on to sign a contract with the Knicks, but was waived before the season. He began playing for their G-League team, the Westchester Knicks, and on Jan. 14 signed a two-way contract with the big-league Knicks.

The former Celtic did not appear in a game with New York until this week, when he made his season debut Monday night against Charlotte. He played 18 minutes during each of New York’s last two games, averaging 7.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.

Many Knicks players, including Allen, are in line to see a spike in playing time tonight due to New York’s shorthanded roster. Not only are the Knicks missing Emmanuel Mudiay, Frank Ntiikina and Luke Kornet, they are also down three guards after Thursday’s blockbuster trade with Dallas. Tim Hardaway Jr., the team’s leading scorer, Trey Burke and Courtney Lee were all shipped out in that trade along with star big man Kristaps Porzingis. Now Allen is finally in line for big minutes at MSG, and Brad Stevens expects him to capitalize on the opportunity.

After spending a full year around Allen, Stevens may very well know his game even better than Allen’s current coach. Stevens commented on what Allen brings to the table before Friday’s game.

“He’s always been a guy that can impact the game with his ball-handling ability, his decision-making, and then he’s an elite defender,” Stevens said. He then added, “I’m happy for him, and he’s obviously going to get a chance at a lot of run here until those guards get back, or until this trade gets finalized.”

Tonight, Allen’s elite defensive abilities will match up with his former teammates, Kyrie Irving and Terry Rozier. Irving and Rozier will surely look to attack the inexperienced guard, while Allen will simultaneously be aiming to make an impression on his coaching staff with his expanded role.

As recently as Thursday morning, Allen wouldn’t have been expected to see more than 15 or so minutes of action against his former team. Now, he could very well be in line to set a new career high in minutes tonight while playing for a Knicks team that will roll an unfamiliar lineup onto the court.

- Marc D'Amico

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