The Celtics may be a tough opponent for the Knicks in the upcoming postseason, but the Knicks fancy themselves as a tough out. Chauncey Billups said he believed the Knicks were "the most dangerous playoff team in the NBA."
His reasoning was simple: "We are fresh and we are new and we are dangerous," he said. "We have a lot of weapons. We can move the scoreboard, our defense is getting a lot better. We're going to be a tough team; we're going to be a tough out."
The playoff matchup was set when the Celtics, who sat their main stars, lost in overtime to the Wizards on Monday as the Miami Heat defeated the Atlanta Hawks. The Heat clinched the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoff standings and the Celtics were locked in at the third seed, which plays the sixth seed. The Knicks clinched sixth by virtue of the 76ers' loss to the Magic on Monday.
It will be the first time in 21 years that the Knicks and Celtics, two of the NBA's original franchises, will meet in the playoffs. That year, the Patrick Ewing-led Knicks upset the Celtics in a five-game series, with the Knicks pulling out the Game 5 win on the famous Boston Garden parquet.
"It's going to be a very intense, high-energy series," Carmelo Anthony said. "They got something to prove. We have something to prove. It's going to be crazy."
The Celtics, who appear to be reeling since the trade of center and defensive anchor Kendrick Perkins, have lost seven of 12 down the stretch, while the Knicks had won seven straight until Tuesday's loss to the Bulls. They appear to be two teams going in opposite directions, but the playoffs can change that in a hurry.
"I've been on those teams, veteran teams, where pretty much the regular season is just not that much fun," Billups said. "They look forward to the playoffs and that's the kind of team they have, so we've got our hands full."
BULLS 103, KNICKS 90: Derrick Rose scored 11 of his 26 points in a 26-2 run for the Bulls (61-20) that open the third quarter and broke open a competitive game. Carmelo Anthony had 15 of his 21 points in the first half, as the Knicks held a 55-52 lead at the half. The Knicks (42-39), who had their seven-game winning streak snapped, trailed by as many as 21 points in the third, but rallied to close to within six early in the fourth. They shot 8-for-31 from three-point range, including just 2-of-16 in the second half.
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