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Rivals or not, a big one tonight for C’s

It’s been a while since the Boston-New York rivalry involved a basketball. Soon, it might again.

It’s been a while since the Boston-New York rivalry involved a basketball. Soon, it might again.

The Knicks have done their best to keep up with the C’s recent 10-game tear, winning nine of their last 10, including eight in a row.

But they’re not quite “rivals”?yet, at least as far as Paul Pierce is concerned.

“There’s a rivalry? … I didn’t know we had a rivalry going,” Pierce said yesterday. “If that’s what you all want it to be — if it’s going to sell more tickets, get more viewers — I guess so. You all make up the rivalries. We don’t.”

At 16-9, New York is just four games behind Boston for first place in the Atlantic Division.
One reason? Newly acquired big man Amare Stoudemire. The former Suns star has scored at least 30 points in each of the Knicks’ last eight. His play has put New York back on the playoff map.

Kevin Garnett and Stoudemire have a history of going back and forth at each other. So expect to see KG even more hyped up than usual tonight in New York.

“Well I think Stoudemire, even if he didn’t have the 30-point games, [Garnett] gets up for him anyways,” C’s coach Doc Rivers said. “They get up for each other. And the fact they’re playing well, the fact they’re in our division and all that stuff — I’m sure Kevin will have a lot of reading material over the next two days.”

Rivalry or not, playing at historic Madison Square Garden always adds another element to the game.

“Favorite place to play,” said Ray Allen, who played a Brooklyn native in “He Got Game.” “It’s just so unique. ... That building is timeless.”

Coming soon to Apple: Carmelo?

Maybe the addition of a new star to the Knicks would be enough to convince Paul Pierce they’re the Celtics’ rivals.

Recent reports suggested Carmelo Anthony is going to take his talents to The Big Apple, either this season or next.

Sources said the only way Anthony, who has an $18 million player option next year, will sign Denver’s three-year, $65 million contract extension is if he’s traded to the Knicks.

 
 
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