The New York Knicks have been resting comfortably atop the Atlantic Division for much of the season. The Boston Celtics know that spot all too well, considering they've won the division title in each of the last five years. New York hasn't owned the Atlantic since 1993-94, but Carmelo Anthony will look to continue his scoring surge on Monday when the rivals meet for the first time this season at Madison Square Garden.
Anthony fueled a fourth-quarter comeback by scoring 16 of his 40 points in the session as New York posted a 114-106 victory over Orlando on Saturday. The Knicks have won two in a row - as have the Celtics, who benefited from Rajon Rondo's second triple-double this season to secure an 89-81 victory over Atlanta on Saturday. Rondo had 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, Comcast SportsNet New England (Boston), MSG (New York)
ABOUT THE CELTICS (16-17): The road hasn't been kind for coach Doc Rivers' club, which had dropped three in a row prior to defeating Atlanta. The Celtics will make the short trek to the Big Apple before returning to Beantown, where it will remain for five straight games. Forward Paul Pierce, who averages 23.6 points in his career versus New York, erupted for a season-high 43 in a 118-110 loss to New York on April 17.
ABOUT THE KNICKS (23-10): Anthony registered his second career triple-double in last April's contest - going for 35 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. The superstar insists that his team isn't concerned with Boston, which sits seven games back in the standings. "We don't even think about them," he said. "No disrespect or anything. We're focused on ourselves." The Knicks seemed to be pretty locked in on that regard, as they toughened up defensively to stymie San Antonio on Thursday before overcoming an eight-point fourth-quarter deficit to the Magic on Saturday.
1. The game will feature Rondo versus veteran Jason Kidd. Rondo leads the league by averaging 11.3 assists per game. Kidd, who will be 40 in March, has averaged 8.9 per game in his career.
2. New York swingman J.R. Smith is averaging 23.8 points in his last eight games - a full seven points higher than his season average.
3. The teams split their four-game series last year - with the home club winning every game.
Knicks 105, Celtics 95.