A New York state of mind: Celtics will face Knicks in 1st round of NBA Playoffs

USA TODAY Sports

The dance card is set. We'll see the New York Knicks in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.

The 82 game preseason is coming to a close soon and now we know who our dance partner will be in the first round. The New York Knicks hate the Celtics. They've said as much throughout the years and especially this year.

Knicks out for payback - Boston Celtics Blog - ESPN Boston

It's been nearly two years, but Carmelo Anthony still remembers. He knows exactly how he felt after the Boston Celtics swept the New York Knicks out of the 2011 playoffs. And he'll use that as motivation this time around against Boston. "That's in the back of our minds," Anthony said. "We want to beat Boston. I mean, let's be quite frank."

Of course the difference between a couple years ago and this year is that the position in the standings has been flipped. The Knicks have one of the best records in the game and the Celtics have had a roller coaster season that averages out to ...well, average.

But none of that matters once the playoffs start. The Knicks have home court advantage and perhaps some more confidence based on their recent strong play. But they still start 0-0 in game one and move on when one team wins 4 games. So how to these teams match up? We'll spend a good deal of time on that this week, but here's a quick primer.

Celtics learn first-round playoff opponent: the New York Knicks - Celtics - Boston.com

The Knicks have won 15 of their last 16 games and won the season series against the Celtics, 3-1, for the first time since 2003-04. "They’ve been playing very well," Celtics forward Jeff Green said about the Knicks after Boston won in Orlando Saturday night, 120-88. "They’re knocking down the three." The most made 3-pointers against the Celtics this season is 14, which the Knicks did twice. "It’s tough to defend them," Green said. "We’ve got to make sure we’re all on one page and . . . and just run them off the 3-point line."

The Celtics "live by the jumpshot, die by the jumpshot" and so do the Knicks. Doc is fond of saying that it is a "make-miss league" and it might just boil down to who makes more shots in the series.

Oh yeah, and you may have noticed that things have been chippy between these two teams over the years. Don't expect that to change - except to make it more-so.

Should be a fun series.

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