February 02, 2015

The Boston Celtics saw Kristaps Porzingis at his best the last time they faced the New York Knicks, although the rookie hasn't been close to that level lately.

Porzingis and the Knicks have lost five of six entering Tuesday night's home matchup against a Celtics team that just had a five-game win streak snapped.

These Atlantic Division rivals have split two meetings, with each winning at home. New York's 120-114 victory Jan. 12 featured Porzingis scoring 26 points in 26 minutes before he fouled out.

The rookie is averaging 13.0 points on 36.5 percent shooting in his last six games. He scored 14 points in 20 minutes in Sunday's 116-95 home loss to Golden State, picking up two fouls in the first 90 seconds before he sat for the remainder of a scoreless first quarter.

"This is going to be a learning experience for me, just to make those quick two fouls and then sit out and then later on try not to foul again and not really be able to play hard defensively since you don't want to get fouled out," he said. "It's just things that I gotta learn."

The Knicks (23-27) need him on the floor to provide offensive support to Carmelo Anthony, who had 24 points and 10 rebounds. The lack of playing time for Porzingis was magnified since the starting backcourt of Arron Afflalo and Langston Galloway combined for 14 points on 5-of-25 shooting.

"You just never know where it's coming from," Anthony said of getting scoring help. "We've been kinda successful when not knowing where our second scorer was gonna come from. Some games, there's a third and fourth scorer. Tonight, we just couldn't find it."

Galloway made his third straight start in place of Jose Calderon, who is day to day with a strained right groin.

The Knicks will be challenged to stop one of the league's most explosive guards in Isaiah Thomas, who has totaled 55 points and 14 assists in the first two meetings. Thomas is averaging 26.0 points in his last eight road games.

Boston (27-22) seeks to bounce back after Sunday's 119-114 loss at Orlando ended its longest win streak of the season. Marcus Smart matched a career high with 26 points and Thomas scored 23.

The Celtics allowed the Magic to shoot 53.7 percent after limiting opponents to 41.6 percent in the previous five games.

"Especially to the caliber that we like to play, it definitely got let down," Smart said. "Those guys were getting offensive rebounds, tip dunks, tip-backs and kicking it out for open 3s."

Jae Crowder was held to five points on 2-of-8 shooting after averaging 14.8 in his previous four games. Crowder suffered a leg injury Sunday, although he said it wouldn't prevent him from facing the Knicks.

Crowder has 39 points in the season series.

Boston has outscored New York 34-14 in points off turnovers this season. The Celtics average 19.2 points in that department to rank among the league's best while the Knicks are last at 12.6.

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