Tonight in the NBA: Celtics, Knicks kick off 2013 playoffs

Tonight in the NBA: Celtics, Knicks kick off 2013 playoffs
April 20, 2013, 11:45 am
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The Knicks won the season series 3-1 against the Celtics, but Kevin Garnett did not play in two of the Knicks' victories. (USA Today Images)

The 2013 NBA playoffs kick off today. Here is a quick preview of each game:

Celtics at Knicks, 3 p.m.
The Boston Celtics open their first-round series against the New York Knicks on Saturday afternoon hoping to provide a boost to a city that has gone through a lot since Monday's marathon bombings.

Emotions will likely run high after a tough week in Boston, but the Celtics hope the game can be a distraction for some.

"I know it doesn't hurt. I don't know it if helps or not," Doc Rivers said. "Listen, for some people a basketball game's not going to matter. Some people, just the joy of the sport and, you know, the victory and that, will help people. It'll help people heal."

The Knicks enter the series as the No. 2 seed after dethroning Boston from their five-year run as Atlantic Division champions. The Celtics will play the rare role of underdog as the No. 7 seed.

The Knicks won the season series with Boston 3-1, but in two of the victories the Celtics were without Kevin Garnett.

New York may be without starting guard Pablo Prigioni, who sprained his ankle in the regular-season finale.

Warriors at Nuggets, 5:30 p.m.
The Golden State Warriors travel to Denver to kick off their first-round series against the Nuggets.

Many considered this the marquee matchup because of the two exciting, high-octane offenses. Denver does much of its damage in the paint, while the Warriors do it from the outside as they shoot an NBA-best 40.3 percent from three.

The Warriors' three-point shooting is led by Stephen Curry, who broke Ray Allen's single-season record for threes in a season with 272.

The Nuggets will try to contain Curry with the duo of Ty Lawson and Andre Iguodala.

Kevin Faried is questionable for the game after missing the last week of the season with a sprained left knee. If Faried plays, he will come off the bench with Wilson Chandler getting the start.

Denver won the season series 3-1, but the two teams haven't faced each other since January.

Bulls at Nets, 8 p.m.
The Nets begin their first postseason in Brooklyn with a matchup against the Chicago Bulls. It is also the Nets' first postseason appearance since 2007.

With Derrick Rose yet to play this season, the Bulls may also be without Joakim Noah as the series begin. Nazr Mohammed would get the start if Noah is unable to play.

While the Bulls have battled injuries, the Nets enter the series healthy. Deron Williams, who struggled at the beginning of the season while dealing with ankle issues, has returned to an elite level since the All-Star break.

Despite Chicago winning the season series 3-1, only one game was decided by more than four points.

Grizzlies at Clippers, 10:30 p.m.
The Los Angeles Clippers open their first round series against a familiar foe in the Memphis Grizzlies.

Both teams finished with 56-26 records and tied for fourth-place, but the Clippers get home-court advantage in the series.

It's a playoff rematch from last season, in which the Clippers won in seven games.

Chauncey Billups will be back on the floor for the Clippers after missing chunks of the season with various injuries, but will be limited to 20-some minutes. Blake Griffin should also be good to go after dealing with back spasms in the regular-season finale.

Griffin will be needed to help contain Zach Randolph, who was fourth in the league with 11.2 rebounds per game.

The Clippers won the season series 3-1, including two victories in Memphis.

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