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Make no mistake about it—the Celtics-Knicks rivalry has returned. Not only that, but this rivalry may be here to stay.
While there is no doubt that the free-agent addition of Amare Stoudemire, along with the mid-season trade to acquire Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups have helped the Knicks to push themselves into the postseason, the Knicks are still a player or two away from making a deep post-season run.
Look for Boston to win this series 4-2. But, if shots are not falling for the Celtics, do not be surprised if the Knicks push the Celtics to a seventh game in Boston.
One concern for Boston is their center position. According to reports from Boston, center Shaquille O'Neal worked out briefly before practice on Thursday. It may be safe to say that Jermaine O'Neal and Nenad Krstic will assume the majority of the minutes at the center position.
Either way, any of these centers will have their hands-full trying to stop Amare Stoudemire. Also, Carmelo Anthony will be able to put up big numbers against any guard that the Celtics use to try and defend Anthony.
What many basketball fans may not be aware of, however, is Boston's depth. What the Celtics may have lost in size when they traded Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City, they definitely gained in youth and depth with the addition of Jeff Green.
Green gives the Celtics another offensive weapon. Green is the type of player that can create his own shot at any given time. Also, when Paul Pierce needs a break, or years down the line when Paul Pierce's minutes need to be reduced, Jeff Green will be ready to step in and assume the majority of the Celtics' offensive load.
Celtics point-guard Rajon Rondo will have no problems having another successful NBA playoff series. Look for Rondo to get Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Jeff Green, and Delonte West involved in the offense early.
If that happens, and Kevin Garnett and Glen "Big-Baby" Davis can handle the dirty work on the defensive side of the court, the Celtics should win this series in six games.