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NBA Preview from The Sports Network

Friday, February 11th (All times eastern)

New York Knicks (19-30) at Boston Celtics (25-25), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Boston Celtics hope to widen their lead in the Atlantic Division tonight when they welcome the New York Knicks to FleetCenter.

Boston has won four of its last five games, and enters Friday's action with a 1 1/2 game lead over second-place Philadelphia in the standings. The last- place Knicks are 5 1/2 games off the pace.

On Wednesday, Paul Pierce scored 25 points with 10 rebounds and nine assists to lead theCeltics over the Los Angeles Clippers, 94-89, at FleetCenter. Mark Blount added 17 with eight boards in the win.

Raef LaFrentz scored 16 points for the Celtics, who have won nine of their last 14 tilts overall.

Boston, which has won three straight on its own court, kicked off a four-game homestand. The Celtics will host Sacramento on Sunday.

New York, meanwhile, has lost six of its last seven games entering the day's action. On Wednesday the Knicks dropped a 116-110 overtime affair against Miami at Madison Square Garden.

Stephon Marbury had a game-high 36 points and eight assists to lead the Knicks, who battled back from a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime.

Trevor Ariza, filling in for the injured Jamal Crawford, had 16 points and eight boards for New York, which has lost 17 of its last 20 outings overall. Kurt Thomas had 14 points and 12 boards in yet another disheartening defeat.

Marbury has been the one positive of late for the Knicks, as he has eclipsed the 30-point mark in the last four games. If he can accomplish the feat this evening he will match the franchise record previously set by Bernard King and Patrick Ewing.

New York, which has dropped nine of its last 10 on the road, will host Charlotte on Sunday.

Boston has won two meetings against New York this season, and taken three straight in the series overall.

The Knicks have lost in five of their last seven trips to Beantown.

02/11 10:09:30 ET

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