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Sunday, April 17, 2011
Round 1, Game 1: Celtics vs. Knicks

By Greg Payne

(56-26, 33-8 home)     -- vs. --     (42-40, 19-22 away)
at TD Garden, 7 p.m. | TNT, WEEI (850 AM)

PAYNE'S THREE THINGS TO WATCH
GAME PREVIEW (via Stats Inc.)
The New York Knicks and Boston Celtics took big gambles when they shook up their rosters less than two months ago.

They're about to find out which team was the winner.

On Feb. 22, the Carmelo Anthony soap opera ended when he and Chauncey Billups came to the Knicks from the Denver Nuggets, a trade that cost New York three regulars. Two days later, the Celtics obtained Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic from Oklahoma City and gave up starting center Kendrick Perkins, a stout defender and strong physical presence.

The transitions haven't been smooth for either team.

And now they face each other in Sunday night's opener of a best-of-seven Eastern Conference playoff series.

"It was risky for both of us," Boston coach Doc Rivers said Saturday. "Both teams, when they first made the trade, started winning right away and then started losing right after that. It happens all the time."

The Celtics were 41-15 at the time of the deal and 15-11 since then, finishing third in the East at 56-26. The Knicks were 28-26 before their trade and 14-14 after it, ending up at 42-40.

Boston did win its first five games with Green and Krstic and New York went 6-3 immediately after Anthony and Billups arrived.

"When you first make (the trade), everyone's just kind of playing," Rivers said. "Then, all of a sudden, the new system starts kicking in, their old system is still in and you completely lose the rhythm. I'd say both teams did that.

"But now, I think, we've had some time together. These three, four days (of practice) have been tremendous for us. I think we'll both be ready."

Read the full preview HERE.