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Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Game 82: Celtics vs. Knicks

By Greg Payne

(55-26, 32-8 home)     -- vs. --     (42-39, 19-21 away)
at TD Garden, 8 p.m. | CSN, WEEI (850 AM)

PAYNE'S THREE THINGS TO WATCH
GAME PREVIEW (via Stats Inc.)
The Boston Celtics and New York Knicks will play at least their next five games against each other, but the first one will look considerably different than the rest.

Both teams may rest starters when they finish the regular season Wednesday night at TD Garden, the same place where they'll open the playoffs this weekend.

"We just have to stay healthy," Knicks point guard Chauncey Billups said Tuesday. "Nothing we can really accomplish tomorrow to be honest with you, just kind of stay healthy. Tomorrow to me is nothing. (In the playoffs) everything will be different, intensity will be different, players will be more focused, it will be a totally different game."

Boston (55-26) is locked into the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Knicks (42-39) are assured of finishing sixth, which means the clubs will square off in the postseason for the first time since 1990.

Coach Mike D'Antoni's plans for Billups and Carmelo Anthony in the finale are unclear. Anthony has been outstanding lately, averaging 30.3 points on 49.0 percent shooting in his last nine games.

While the Knicks can't exactly send a message by beating Boston's reserves, they wouldn't mind avoiding a season-series sweep. The Celtics have won the first three meetings, although they were decided by an average of just 5.3 points.

The Knicks haven't won in Boston since Nov. 24, 2006, losing eight straight there -- seven since the Celtics acquired Garnett and Allen.

Read the full preview HERE.