The Knicks will play Boston in the first round of the playoffs, which are expected to begin Sunday. The matchup was set as the result of three games Monday night.
First, the Knicks clinched the sixth seed when Philadelphia lost at home to Orlando. The Celtics will be the third seed by virtue of their 95-94 overtime loss to Washington. Miami locked up the No. 2 seed with its win over Atlanta .
The Celtics' loss was a curious one. With second place still within reach, Doc Rivers decided to sit his four star players: Kevin Garnett , Ray Allen , Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo . Rivers said he might sit his stars again in Wednesday night's season finale against the Knicks in Boston .
It will be the first time in 21 years that the Knicks and Celtics have faced each other in the playoffs. That year, Patrick Ewing led a stunning comeback to win a best-of-five first-round series with a Game 5 win on the old Boston Garden parquet.
The Knicks haven't fared well against the Celtics since the Big Three era began in Boston. The Knicks have lost eight straight games at TD Garden and dropped both games at Madison Square Garden this season, including Dec. 15, when Amar'e Stoudemire hit a potential game-winning three-pointer that was waved off because it came just after the buzzer.
Most around the league were hoping for a superstar matchup between the Knicks and Heat, with Carmelo Anthony vs. LeBron James as the marquee matchup.
Instead, Miami will face the 76ers in the first round. The Magic and Hawks will meet in the 4-5 matchup and the top-seeded Bulls will face the eighth-seeded Pacers.
The Bulls, whom the Knicks host Tuesday night , still have a chance to finish with the best overall record in the NBA , which would give them home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.