WALTHAM, Mass. -- Celtics forward Kevin Garnett has expressed confidence in his team all season, but knows Boston will be in for a battle when it meets the New York Knicks in the opening round of the playoffs this weekend.
"(Carmelo Anthony's) playing unbelievable. I think their whole team is playing connected and they're going to be the task at hand, they're going to be, obviously, something to reckon with," Garnett said before Monday's practice. "We've got our work cut out for us."
Garnett later added: "You know Melo's going to get the majority of the shots. He's going to, obviously, lead their team and will their team. Other guys are going to follow suit. J.R. (Smith's) going to be very aggressive, as will every person who steps on the court. They're a very good shooting team, so, like I said, we've just got to be ready."
While Anthony likely rests at the top of the checklist of problems the Knicks present for Boston, New York's willingness to shoot 3-pointers can't be far behind. In the four regular season meetings between the two clubs, New York put up 115 3-pointers (28.7 per game). If the Knicks are knocking down shots from distance, Garnett knows the C's could be in for some long nights.
"We've definitely got to take the 3s away, slow them in transition, they love to run, at home and on the road," Garnett said. "So we've just got to be connected and obviously know what our game plan is, know it, like, in our sleep, and come out and execute it."
Garnett will have his own tall task to deal with along the front line in Tyson Chandler. The league's reigning Defensive Player of the Year hasn't played since April 7 (neck), but he's expected to be ready for the start of the postseason. Garnett acknowledged Chandler's ability to impact a game in multiple ways.
"Well he's very active, not just on the defensive end, blocking shots and talking, but offensively he keeps a lot of balls alive," said Garnett. "He's very, very good at his role, he knows what he's out there to do. But, more importantly, he's a catalyst. He speaks a lot, talks loud, constant talk. It's the reason he's a big part of their team."
Garnett isn't in any rush to meet the Knicks, though. While some wouldn't mind fast-forwarding through the final two games of the regular season (a home-and-away back-to-back against the Pacers and Raptors Tuesday and Wednesday), Garnett stressed a business-like approach to the end of the schedule.
"It's not bumps in the road," Garnett said. "They're games to be played and you have to respect them, obviously against respectable teams, and they're on the schedule, so you obviously have to be professional about that. But more importantly, preparing, this is where practice time comes in, this is where you have time with your team, that you go over things for the future. But right now, we do have two more games and we're going to take them a day at a time."