- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.
Today's Burning Question: Would you welcome a first-round series against the Celtics?
With Sunday's 19-point win, the Knicks won the regular season series against the Celts for the first time since 2003-04.
Coincidentally, that's the year before Doc Rivers took over as Boston's head coach.
The Celts have dominated the Atlantic Division under Doc, winning five straight division crowns and six of the last eight. But that streak's all but done. The Knicks are up 8 1/2 games on Boston with 10 to play and have all but locked up their first division crown since 1993-94, thanks to an eight-game winning streak.
"I think the guys know that we're playing for something and they're committed," Mike Woodson said Sunday.
If things stay the same in the conference standings, New York may face Boston in the first round of the playoffs.
Not long ago, this would strike fear in the Knicks fan base. Don't forget, the Celts swept the Knicks in the first round in 2011.
But this isn't the same Boston team. The Celts should have Kevin Garnett back for the postseason, but even with the Big Ticket, they are one of the poorest rebounding teams in the East.
They can defend, but offense has been an issue without Rajon Rondo.
The Knicks have dominated Boston in the last week, winning the last two games by an average of 17 points. The last time they won two straight against Boston by at least 15 points was 1997-98.
So New York should like its chances against the Celts.
And you can make a strong argument that Woodson's club would rather face Boston in the first round than the Bulls. Chicago, currently tied for sixth place in the East, has won all three regular season games against the Knicks this year.
Brooklyn has also played well against the Knicks this season. So, as strange as it is to say, Boston is probably the most desirable first-round matchup from a Knicks perspective.
QUESTION: Would you welcome a first-round series against the Celtics?
Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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4dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann