BOSTON – While most of the NBA may be overlooking the New York Knicks, The Boston Celtics are viewing them as a challenging opponent.

The two teams will meet at 7:30 p.m. tonight in Hartford, Conn., as Boston looks to continue its preseason success and New York opens its exhibition slate.

The Celtics tipped off their preseason Monday night with an impressive 20-point victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. That Sixers team has the youngest average age in the NBA, according to, at 23.9 years old.

Boston recognizes that tonight’s opponent, the Knicks, are a much different story. New York has a group of savvy veterans who can change the course of a game. Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert have joined returning Knicks Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith, Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani to give New York a strong veteran presence.

“This crew here is a little more seasoned (than the 76ers),” Marcus Thornton said of the Knicks. “A lot of veterans; guys that actually know how to play and have been at the top, with (Carmelo) Melo (Anthony) and J.R. Smith. So we have to approach this game a little bit different.”

The Knicks also have a crop of talented youngsters, led by second-year guard Tim Hardaway Jr., who was an All-Rookie First Team member a season ago. Second-year point guard Shane Larkin and rookies Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo could contribute as well.

Many NBA pundits have dismissed New York as a playoff team, but the Knicks are garnering plenty of attention from Brad Stevens.

“I look up and down their roster and I see why they should have a lot of excitement,” Stevens said. “They’re deep, they have a legit top-five player in the league and they’re huge on the interior.”

Stevens believes the Knicks will push his C’s, and he’s excited to find out …read more