UNDATED (AP) - The NBA playoffs begin today with four games.
At Madison Square Garden, there's another renewal of the classic New York-Boston rivalry this afternoon. The Knicks won the season series 3-1, including the final three meetings. The Knicks are trying to win their first playoff series since 2000 after winning 54 games in the regular season.
One of the key matchups is at center where the Knicks' Tyson Chandler goes up against Kevin Garnett, both former Defensive Players of the Year.
The Knicks are without starting guard Pablo Prigioni in their playoff opener, going with rookie Chris Copeland against the Celtics. Prigioni sprained his right ankle Wednesday in the regular-season finale.
In other playoff openers:
- In the Mile High City, the third-seeded Denver Nuggets host Golden State (5:30 p.m. Eastern). The Nuggets won the season series 3-2. It's just the second trip to the playoffs for the Warriors in 19 years. That means Mark Jackson's team will have to guard against the just-happy-to-be-here pratfall that tends to affect clubs in that situation. This series matches two of the quickest-scoring guards in the NBA, Denver's Ty Lawson against Stephen Curry, the newly crowned single-season 3-point record holder.
- Tonight in Brooklyn, the Nets host the Chicago Bulls (8 p.m. Eastern) in a 4-5 matchup. The Bulls won the series 3-1 in the regular season but three of those games were decided by four points or less. The Bulls were without Carlos Boozer, Joakim Noah and Kirk Hinrich in their lone loss, a 93-89 defeat in Brooklyn on Feb. 1. Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau ruled out point guard Derrick Rose for the opener of the Bulls' first-round series against Brooklyn but left open the possibility Rose could play later in the postseason. Rose, last year's league MVP who missed all of this season recovering from major knee surgery.
- Tonight's final game is at Staples Center where the L.A. Clippers host Memphis (10:30 p.m. Eastern) in another 4-5 matchup. The Clippers split two games, including one victory by 26 points on the road. Each team won twice on the other's home court. This matchup pits a pair of 56-victory teams. The Clippers eliminated the Grizzlies in seven games to reach the second round of the playoffs last season.
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