Are you ready for some exhibition basketball?
Okay, it may be a regular season game, technically. But with the Celtics and Knicks wrapping up their schedules Wednesay night at 7:30 p.m. EDT, on Comcast Sports Net New England, and on course to meet in the first round of the playoffs (Game 1 will be played on Sunday night at 7 p.m. at TD Garden), anyone expecting to see much out of stars like Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett or Ray Allen (not to mention New York All-Stars, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire) will likely wind up disappointed.
Instead, at least for the Celtics, the game plan will likely be scripted around auditioning some of the reserves for the final spots on the playoff roster. Guys like Troy Murphy, Sasha Pavlovic and Avery Bradley will probably get some big run Wednesday night in an attempt to showcase to coach Doc Rivers whether they can make a difference come Sunday.
Another subplot for the C's will be the backup point guard spot. Oft-injured Delonte West sprained his ankle once again in Monday night's loss to the Wizards, bringing Carlos Arroyo back into the forefront. Arroyo played 30 minutes in Washington, and put up seven points, four rebounds, three assists and four steals and will probably see similar minutes Wednesday night. Additionally, Jeff Green and Jermaine O'Neal, both of whom started on Monday and produced their best statistical nights in a Celtics uniform (Green: 20 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and two steals in 47 minutes; O'Neal: 15 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks in 37 minutes).
The C's, 9-11 over their last 20 games, have not lost at home to the Knicks (42-39) since Nov. 24, 2006. The Knicks, who will make their first postseason appearance since 2004, are hot, having won seven before falling to the East's top seed Chicago on Monday night at Madison Square Garden. Anthony in particular has been rolling of late, averaging 30.3 points on 49 percent shooting in his last nine games.