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Celtics’ finale a playoff preview

The Celtics will end their long, injury-riddled, somewhat disappointing regular season tonight against the Knicks – the same team they will face in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Boston Celtics will end their long, injury-riddled, somewhat disappointing regular season tonight against the New York Knicks.

Really, it’s going to serve as a warmup more than anything.

As the No. 3 seed in the East, the Celtics are set to play these same Knicks just a few days from now in the first round.

It’s a matchup the C’s likely wanted to avoid.

Boston is just 14-12 since the trade deadline — the day they traded starting center Kendrick Perkins for swingman Jeff Green and big man Nenad Krstic.

In that time, they’ve also seen their seeding in the Eastern Conference drop two spots, giving the second-seeded Heat and top-seeded Bulls home-court advantage over them in the playoffs during the later rounds. (Assuming the C’s make it that far.)

The Knicks made a major deadline deal of their own, which has seen mixed results so far. In acquiring Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups from the Nuggets, the Knicks picked up a bona fide scorer and a heady, clutch point guard to go along with low-post threat Amare Stoudemire, signed over the offseason.

Going into last night’s game against the Bulls, the Knicks were riding a seven-game winning streak and appear to have found their stride at the right time.

That could spell trouble for a tired-looking, complacent and uninspiring C’s team still trying to find some cohesion between the first and second units.

Will this first-round series drain Boston of its remaining energy, or turn into a momentum-builder for the later rounds of the playoffs?

 
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