(Sporting Alert) — The 2013 NBA playoff begins on Saturday with four games on the schedule with lots of exciting action expected on the day.
Amongst the matchups on Saturday is the rivalry clash between the New York Knicks (54-28) and Boston Celtics (41-40).
The Knicks and particularly Carmelo Anthony have been very impressive in recent weeks, but they will come up against a Celtics team determined and ready to battle victims of the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday.
“I think when you go through tragedy as a city you kind of look for something to cling on, and really I believe that the city of Boston lives and dies with our sports teams and they’re going to be watching closely,” Celtics star forward and team leader Paul Pierce said.
“And you know there’s just a sense of pride about the city and a sense of pride about this team to go out there and kind of play well and to do the best we can for the city in the wake of the tragedy.”
Boston, which normally sits high in the Eastern Conference comes into the series as only the seventh-seed, following a dismal period battling with injuries, but New York’s point guard Raymond Felton, whose team is the second seed in the East, isn’t expecting an easy series.
“It’s not going to be an easy series, we know that, but at the same time it’s a series that we’re going to win,” Felton said.
“We’ve got home-court advantage, so we’ve got to take advantage of it.”
Meanwhile, also in action from the Eastern Conference on Saturday is the first round playoff series opener between the Chicago Bulls (45-37) and the Brooklyn Nets (49-33) at the Barclays Center.
Sources say leading point guard Derrick Rose, who has not played all series with definitely out of this game for the Bulls, while center Joakim Noah, who has been bothered by injuries remains doubtful for the contest.
“It’s really hard, it’s really hard,” Noah said Friday. “All the work you put in is to play in this situation.
“This is probably one of the hardest things I‘ve had to deal with in my career right now. Going back home and playing in these playoff games means the world to me. Not being able to be ready for that is hard. I’m going to try and do everything I can to help the team.”
Elsewhere on Saturday, Western Conference season rivals Los Angeles Clippers (56-26), who edged out the Memphis Grizzlies (56-26) for home court advantage setup a series matchup.
The other first round playoff series sees Golden State taking on Denver.
NBA PLAYOFFS TV CHANNELS
NEW YORK KNICKS (2) VS. BOSTON CELTICS (7)
Game 1 @New York: Saturday, 3 p.m. ET, ABC
BROOKLYN NETS (4) VS. CHICAGO BULLS (5)
Game 1 @Brooklyn: Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
DENVER NUGGETS (3) VS. GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (6)
Game 1 @Denver: Saturday, 5:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (4) VS. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (5)
Game 1 @Los Angeles: Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN