Pregame Post-Ups: A Revenge Game for Kanter
Sunday, December 1 - Celtics at Knicks
Pregame – Today is a Revenge Game for Kanter
NEW YORK – Enes Kanter relayed just a few weeks ago that he was frustrated by the fact that he was unable to play in two games against his former team, the New York Knicks, due to injury. Those frustrations will be pushed to the wayside this afternoon.
Kanter is back in Boston’s lineup after missing the first seven games of the season with a left knee contusion. He has appeared in 11 games and has played at least 14 minutes during each of Boston’s last four contests, averaging 7.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game during that recent stretch. He has provided a much-needed boost to Boston’s lineup while coming off of the bench.
“I think he looks good,” Brad Stevens said of Kanter before today’s tip-off. “We have to choose night to night what looks best for our team from that center spot … But there are games where Enes’ scoring and rebounding is a necessity.”
Today’s afternoon matinee against the Knicks might be one such game. New York enters this contest ranked as the top offensive rebounding team in the league, with an average of 12.4 offensive boards per game. The Knicks grabbed 16 offensive rebounds during each of these teams’ first two meeting this season, both of which Kanter missed due to his injury.
Kanter can surely help the Celtics this afternoon in their attempt to protect the glass, and he can also help the team in the scoring column. Stevens relayed to the media that Kanter’s scoring ability has become even more important to the Celtics during Gordon Hayward’s absence due to a left hand fracture.
“Especially with Gordon out, or in the game when Kemba (Walker) is out, you’re not necessarily scoring as easily maybe,” said Stevens. “I think we need his ability to do that. And I think that’s really important to our team.”
Everything Stevens said about Kanter before this game indicates that the big man will be granted a significant opportunity to showcase his skills this afternoon against the Knicks. He’s been waiting for this opportunity since he was waived by New York last season after 44 appearances with the Knicks.
- Marc D'Amico