NBA playoff schedule 2013, Knicks vs. Celtics: A longtime rivalry with short-term beefs

USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks open the 2013 NBA playoffs with homecourt advantage against the Boston Celtics.

For the first time in three seasons, the New York Knicks open the playoffs with home court advantage. Mike Woodson's squad enters in the first round as the second seed in the Eastern Conference, and they'll face a Boston Celtics team that has a bit of personal history with them.

Carmelo Anthony's waiting around the Celtics' team bus for Kevin Garnett earlier this season adds intrigue, as does the Knicks pick-up of veteran guard Quentin Richardson on Tuesday. Richardson and Boston swingman Paul Pierce have a mysterious but well-recorded history.

Furthermore, the Knicks, on a three-year streak of making the playoffs since acquiring Anthony, were swept out of the first round by the Celtics in 2011 as a sixth seed. That year, their depth had took a major hit because of the long list of players sent to the Denver Nuggets in order to grab Anthony. Now, it's Boston who enters the series as a lower seed while lacking depth. Injuries have plagued the Celtics this season; All-Star guard Rajon Rondo, rookie forward Jared Sullinger and since-traded backup Leando Barbosa were all lost to season-ending injuries.

But the Celtics hang their hats on defense, anyway. It starts with Avery Bradley, who throws off offensive timing from the get-go of possessions with his in-your-chest, on-ball defense at the point guard spot, and it ends with Garnett's aging but effective physicality in the post. Boston has the sixth-best defensive rating in the NBA, according to Basketball-Reference.com. They'll need to stick to the Knicks like glue.

New York leads the league at 29 three-point attempts per game and 10.9 makes, and that is of course aided by the league scoring champion, Anthony. The Knicks are a top-five team in accuracy from deep, and further leading to their cause is an injury-plagued frontcourt that has forced Woodson to play small-ball. Steve Novak, J.R. Smith and Jason Kidd can shoot the longball, and Iman Shumpert and Chris Copeland aren't afraid to let it fly, either.

Neither the Knicks nor the Celtics sit in the top-half of the league in terms of pace, so it's not farfetched to prepare for a battle of halfcourt sets.

With that, the longtime rivalry with short-term individual beefs will provide a classic glimpse of offense versus defense.

Game 1

Time: 3 p.m. ET Sat., April 20

TV, streaming info: ABC

Game 2

Time: 8 p.m. ET Tues., April 23

TV, streaming info: TNT

Game 3

Time: 8 p.m. ET Fri., April 26

TV, streaming info: ESPN

Game 4

Time: 1 p.m. ET Sun., April 28

TV, streaming info: ABC

Game 5 (TBD)

Time: TBD, Weds., May 1

TV, streaming info: TBD

Game 6 (TBD)

Time: TBD Fri., May 3

TV, streaming info: TBD

Game 7 (TBD)

Time: TBD Sun., May 5

TV, streaming info: TBD


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