Knicks will meet Celtics in first round

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Kevin Garnett and Amare Stoudemire will see a lot of each other the next two weeks.Suddenly, there is clarity.

The idle New York Knicks clinched the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs on Monday night, by virtue of Philadelphia's 95-85 loss to Orlando.

Less than an hour after the Philly loss, Boston fell 95-94 at Washington in overtime. That means Miami will be the No. 2 seed with the Celtics No. 3 -- setting up a Boston-New York series in the first round.

The Eastern Conference playoff matchups are set. Here they are:
• No. 1 Chicago vs. No. 8 Indiana
• No. 2 Miami vs. No. 7 Philadelphia
• No. 3 Boston vs. No. 6 New York
• No. 4 Orlando vs. No. 5 Atlanta

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The Knicks and Celtics, who will meet in Wednesday night's regular-season finale, have squared off three times this season -- twice before the Carmelo Anthony trade, and once after. Boston has won all three games, by an average of 5.3 points:

Oct 29: Celtics 105, Knicks 101

Dec 15: Celtics 118, Knicks 116
O'Connor: For unto you two a rivalry is reborn
Sheridan: Knicks measure up -- until crunch time
Forsberg: Paul Pierce plays villain in New York

March 21: Celtics 96, Knicks 86
O'Connor: Knicks need much more from Melo
Sheridan: Knicks must find consistency at center
Forsberg: Celtics toughen up in time

April 13: 8 p.m. in Boston

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The Knicks and Celtics have a long history of postseason matchups, but this will be their first since 1990:

1990 first round: Knicks defeat Celtics 3-2
1988 first round: Celtics defeat Knicks 3-1
1984 Eastern Conference semifinals: Celtics defeat Knicks 4-3
1974 Eastern Conference finals: Celtics defeat Knicks 4-1
1973 Eastern Conference finals: Knicks defeat Celtics 4-3
1972 Eastern Conference finals: Knicks cefeat Celtics 4-1
1969 Eastern Division finals: Celtics defeat Knicks 4-2
1967 Eastern Division semifinals: Celtics defeat Knicks 3-1
1955 Eastern Division semifinals: Celtics defeat Knicks 2-1
1953 Eastern Division finals: Knicks defeat Celtics 3-1
1952 Eastern Division semifinals: Knicks defeat Celtics 2-1
1951 Eastern Division semifinals: Knicks defeat Celtics 2-0

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Knicks-Celtics playoff series have gone seven games twice:

1984 Eastern Conference semifinals: Bernard King had a series for the ages, averaging 29.1 points per game for the Knicks. The series came down to Game 7 in Boston on May 13; the Celtics won 121-104.

1973 Eastern Conference finals: The Knicks won Game 7 in Boston, 94-78 on April 29. New York went to defeat the Lakers in the NBA Finals.