The Boston Celtics (15-31, 6-17 away) visit the New York Knicks (17-27, 9-15 home) on Tuesday evening at Madison Square Garden. Here's what to watch for:
BEWARE: ANGRY MELO: The Celtics already own two wins over the Knicks this season, including a 41-point blowout victory at Madison Square Garden in early December. “That game left a bitter taste in my mouth and everybody’s mouth,” said Carmelo Anthony. "It was unacceptable." The Celtics will have to be a little extra locked in on Melo, who broke the Knicks' franchise record with a career-best 62-point outburst at MSG on Friday against the Bobcats (he followed it up with 35 points in a win over the Lakers on Sunday). The Celtics have limited Melo to an average of 22.5 points in the first two meetings and he has shot just 35 percent from the floor overall.
RONDO IN NEW YORK: Rumors bubbled up earlier this season that Anthony was recruiting Rajon Rondo to play in New York and that the Knicks believed they could land Rondo via trade if he didn't see a long-term future in Boston. Now the Knicks will get an up-close look at Rondo, who played a season-high 30 minutes against the Nets on Sunday and flirted with a triple-double. The question is whether Rondo will go full throttle again and then rest on the second night of a back-to-back when the 76ers visit Wednesday.
MAXIMIZING POSSESSIONS: The Knicks are one of the least-efficient defenses in the league (ranking 27th in defensive rating) and there's going to be an opportunity for Boston to put points on the board. But the C's have to value every possession, because the Knicks will. New York ranks second in the league in turnover percentage and gets plenty of shots per game by avoiding giveaways (which helps given the team's 29th-ranked pace).
LOOSE BALLS: The Knicks will look a little different to Boston with Tyson Chandler back in action after missing the first two meetings between the teams. But New York is without center Andrea Bargnani, who tore his left UCL, while Kenyon Martin and Amare Stoudemire have battled recent ankle sprains. ... The Celtics were hoping that backup guard Jerryd Bayless, who has missed the last four games with a sprained toe on his left foot, might be closer to a return this evening. Avery Bradley remains sidelined by a sprained right ankle.