- With Pablo Prigioni (right ankle sprain) listed as inactive, the Knicks will start Chris Copeland in his place alongside Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler. Copeland went for 30+ points in each of his last two regular-season games, becoming the first Knicks rookie to do so since 1980. “I think he’s earned that right,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. “I elected to go with Chris because he gives me something different than James [White] gives.” As for Prigioni possibly playing Game 2 on Tuesday, Woodson said, “I won’t rule that out.” He added: “I’m just going to give him a few more days to just make sure that he’s ready.”
- Amar’e Stoudemire (right knee debridement) is also inactive and is not expected back until the second round of the playoffs, assuming the Knicks get that far. “He’s coming back,’’ Woodson said. “But I don’t think it’s any time soon.’’
- The Celtics will start Avery Bradley, Paul Pierce, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett. Garnett will start despite missing 12 of the team’s final 17 games, including eight straight, because of an inflamed left ankle. The Celtics continue to be without Rajon Rondo (ACL) and Jared Sullinger (back). “Kevin’s great, no limitations,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said pre-game. “Kevin’s fine…We still want to limit his minutes but we’ll limit them to 40 or 35.”
- The Celtics are wearing a patch to honor Boston.
- The Knicks’ lockers are adorned with pictures of the Larry O’Brien trophy and the phrase “16 to Win!”
- The Knicks won 16 of their final 18 games, while the Celtics lost 11 of their final 17.
- Celtics guard Jason Terry said he believes J.R. Smith deserves Sixth Man of the Year honors. “J.R. Smith should be the Sixth Man of the Year in my eyes,” Terry told reporters at the Celtics’ practice at Columbia on Friday. “He’s finally taken that title away from me. But he earned it.”
- The Knicks won their first Atlantic Division title since 1994 and took the season series from the Celtics (3-1) for the first time since 2004. The Knicks host the opening game of an NBA playoff series today for the first time since April 22, 2001.
- Anthony on Friday was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Month, one day after Woodson was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month.
- The No. 2 seed is 53-5 against the No. 7 seed since 1983-4. In the Eastern Conference, the 1998 Knicks were the last No. 7 to upset a 2, the Miami Heat.
– Adam Zagoria