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Boston Celtics Playoffs Schedule: Starting Date and Full Predictions

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Boston Celtics Playoffs Schedule: Starting Date and Full Predictions
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics are gearing up for what could very well be the last playoff run with the core of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.

Trade rumors had been thrown around earlier in the season, and with the two only getting older Danny Ainge might feel this is the last run Boston makes before starting over a bit.

The Celtics' opponent in the first round will be the red-hot New York Knicks. This is the second time in three years that the two teams will meet in the first round of the playoffs.

It should be an intriguing series, possibly the most in an Eastern Conference where every other team is fighting for the right to lose to the Miami Heat in the conference final.

Here's when to catch Game 1 of the series, followed by a prediction for how the series will unfold.

 

When: Saturday, April 20 at 3 p.m. ET

Where: Madison Square Garden, New York City

Watch: ABC

 

Predictions

First Round

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

For the last four or five years, age has been a concern for Boston. Would relying on so many older veterans eventually cost the Celtics in the postseason? For the most part, that answer has been no. The Celtics have managed to advance to the conference semifinals in each of the last five seasons.

Sooner or later, though, age would catch up to Boston, and this appears to be the year.

Garnett and Pierce have been playing well considering their amount of years in the league, but both of their levels have dropped slightly this year.

In addition, Jason Terry hasn't matched the production of Ray Allen. Terry's per-36 scoring is less than that of Allen's last year, as is his shooting percentage and PER.

Not to mention the injury to Rajon Rondo. Although the Celtics' record improved with him off the floor, you would much rather have him on the court in a playoff series.

The Knicks players around for the sweeping loss to Boston in the first round in 2011 haven't forgotten the ignominy of that loss. New York was an embarrassment and has since made drastic improvements. The team will want to atone for that embarrassment this year.

Who wins this series?

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New York is playing really well right now. It notched a 13-game winning streak from March 18 until April 9, and the team has won 16 of its last 18 games.

It's going to be hard for the Celtics to stop Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith over a seven-game series. Chris Copeland could be a major contributor as well, as he has averaged 18 points over his last six games.

This series will likely come down to home-court advantage. That's rather unfortunate for the Celtics considering their home and away records. They're 27-13 in Boston, which is fourth-best in the conference. On the road, the team is only 14-27, which is the worst away record of any East playoff team.

The Knicks are a much better team on the road, going 23-18. Although playoff basketball is much different, New York has already won twice in Boston this season. If the Knicks steal one on the road, this series is as good as over.

Don't be surprised if this turns into a series much like the Hawks and Celtics did in the first round of the 2008 playoffs, where the home team won each game.

Knicks win series, 4-3

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