Knicks

NBA Playoffs: Knicks Draw Rival Celtics In First Round

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Amar'e Stoudemire, Kevin Garnett (credit: Jeyhoun Allebaugh/NBAE via Getty Images)

Amar’e Stoudemire, Kevin Garnett (credit: Jeyhoun Allebaugh/NBAE via Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) – New York, get ready for another round vs. Boston. And no, we’re not talking Yankees-Red Sox or Jets-Patriots.

The Knicks’ first-round playoff matchup was finalized late Monday night with the sixth-seeded squad from MSG set to go head-to-head against the hated Boston Celtics.

Said Donnie Walsh in an email to the NY Post: “We know Boston is a great team and a difficult opponent.”

Walsh isn’t alone in his assessment. One scout told the New York Daily News the Knicks “will have a tough time” against the third-seeded Celtics.

“(Kevin) Garnett can take (Amar’e) Stoudemire out of the series,” the scout said. “He’s that good defensively.”

But don’t think it’ll be a cakewalk for Boston. The Knicks have won seven straight. Stoudemire is putting up 25.4 points and a team-best 8.2 rebounds this season, while Carmelo Anthony is averaging 31.5 points in his last eight games after averaging 22.2 in his previous nine.

Two big-time scorers in Carmelo and Amar’e,” Celtics forward Jeff Green said on Monday. “They’re going to be challenging.”

Fans will get to see a New York-Boston playoff preview on Wednesday. Sort of.

Stoudemire sat out the last two games with a sprained left ankle and may need to rest up for the playoffs. Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he will sit the bulk of his top players against the Knicks, giving his veterans a three-day mental break to set them up for three good days of practices Thursday through Saturday before the playoffs start.

He said his message will be: “Just reset yourself. Reset the team.”

“Mostly it’s mental, all the time, with anybody on any team,” Rivers said. “They’re the best conditioned athletes in the world, so I don’t believe in the whole getting-tired theory unless you’re allowing yourself to get tired. They just need the rest. And the break. The whole reason is it allows us to have practice with energy, and we need that more than anything.”

The series will likely begin on Sunday. Madison Square Garden will host games 3 and 4.

Do the Knicks have a shot against Boston? Make your prediction in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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