Knicks vs. Celtics: Playoff Preview

Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

One of the longest and most bitter rivalries in NBA history is about to be renewed in the playoffs for the first time since 1990.

For only the second time since 1990 the Knicks and the Celtics are getting together in the playoffs. There isn't going to be John Starks, Patrick Ewing or the great Eddie Lee Wilkins for the Knicks. Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and AJ Wynder won't be walking through the door for the Celtics. We have Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith and Tyson Chandler matching up with Jeff Green, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. This would be the 13th time the teams have met in the post season. The series is tied 6-6 and here is the unlucky tiebreaker.

Both teams are physical and don't like each other very much. We can probably set the over/under on flagrant fouls in this series at 6.5.

Many see the Knicks as the only team that has a shot to beat the Miami Heat in the playoffs, but the Celtics feel the exact same way. This series will be a lot harder than a potential series against the Pacers or the Hawks in the next round, so we might have to consider this the series to see who gets a chance to beat the Heat in the ECF.

The Knicks dropped the first game of the season series to the Celtics, 102-96, but won the next three games by an average of 12 points per game. Two of those wins over the Celtics came in the last 30 days.

Pierce and Garnett are cagey vets (also very old) and they are going to have to pick their spots to make a difference. They are going to have to be carried a bit by the new youth of the Celtics. Jeff Green, Courtney Lee and Avery Bradley are going to have be the big players in this series. They are going to have to take it to the Knicks and shut down JR Smith and Carmelo Anthony.

Carmelo is going to have to continue to play out of his mind, his teammates can go cold and stay cold at any moment. It's a little worrisome that his streaky teammates have been playing so well. Could they be due for a cold streak or are they going to remain hot?

Let hits the tape.

Tale of the Tape

New York Knicks

Boston Celtics

100.2

PPG

96.3

40.7

RPG

39.4

19.2

APG

22.7

8.2

SPG

8.23

44.9

FG%

46.3

37.6

3PT%

35.4

75.8

FT%

77.7

Carmelo Anthony
JR Smith
Tyson Chandler


Best Three

Jeff Green
Paul Pierce
Kevin Garnett

Jason Kidd

X Factor

Avery Bradley

The Knicks are going to need Jason Kidd to not be a defensive liability and be able to run off Ray Felton and JR Smith well, while also setting up Carmelo in the post. Avery Bradley is going to have to keep Smith under control, if he can then the Celtics will have a chance in every game.

The matchup to watch will be Carmelo vs. Pierce, Green and Garnett down low. Carmelo is a very shifty offensive rebounder. Anthony averages almost five offensive boards per game and they usually equal to ten or more points as well. He gets an and 1 in a lot of those circumstances.

If the Knicks sweep I would not be shocked. If the Celtics win in six I also would not be shocked. Could it go seven? Of course!

Knicks win this series though, 4-1 and pretty much puts an end to the Celtics in their current incantation.

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