Boston at New York
3:00 P.M. ET
Madison Square Garden
Regular Season Offensive Efficiency:
Boston: 101.1 points/100 possessions (20th)
New York: 108.6 points/100 possessions (3rd)
Regular Season Defensive Efficiency:
Boston: 100.4 points allowed/100 possessions (6th)
New York: 103.5 points allowed/100 possessions (16th)
Probable Knicks Starters:
Raymond Felton (PG), Iman Shumpert (SG), Carmelo Anthony (SF), Chris Copeland (PF), and Tyson Chandler (C)
View From The Opposing Bench: KnickerBlogger
Thumbnail: For the 10th time in the last 12 years, the Celtics are in the NBA playoffs and for the second time in the last three postseasons, Boston and New York will compete in the first round. In 2011, the Celtics won the Atlantic Division by 14 games over the second-place Knicks and then swept New York. Now in 2013, the Knicks own the divisional crown for the first time since Pat Riley coached them to the NBA Finals in 1994. New York finished 12.5 games above Boston this season as the Celtics have their lowest seed in almost a decade.
The men in green will be doubted for their weak regular season record, but there is a reason why this series is leading off the playoffs on ABC. It will be exciting because Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are not be intimidated by Madison Square Garden. Coming into Saturday, they started a combined 255 playoff games while the players in the projected Knicks starting lineup have played in just 122 postseason contests overall. The aged veterans will also have to be helped out by the Celtics youngsters. Most importantly, 26-year-old Jeff Green has to keep up his aggressiveness as well as continue his strong defense on Carmelo Anthony. The Celtics coaching staff hopes to have the pieces to prevent hot-shooting Anthony and the rest of the Knicks from attempting too many open shots.
Not many people know that Doc Rivers is just one victory away from tying Tommy Heinsohn for the second-most combined regular season and playoff wins in Celtics history. In addition, the only Celtics head coach with more games on the bench than Doc is Red Auerbach. After not winning a playoff series in his first three seasons as the Boston coach, Doc has led Boston to five consecutive postseasons in which he has led the team past the first round. With Pierce and Garnett near the end of their careers, the Celtics will try their best to keep the streak going.
Prediction: The Celtics step up in their first game of the 2013 playoffs, giving Doc that victory.
Celtics 92, Knicks 89
For more Celtics coverage and pertinent statistics, follow Celtics Hub and Stats Adam Lowenstein on Twitter: @CelticsHub and @StatsAdam