Game One notes: Celtics-Knicks

Game One notes: Celtics-Knicks

Celtics (56-26) vs. Knicks (42-40)

Team leaders

Celtics: PPG Paul Pierce (18.9); RPG Kevin Garnett (8.9); APG Rajon Rondo (11.2)

Knicks: PPG Carmelo Anthony (26.3); RPG Amare Stoudemire (8.2); APG Chauncey Billups (5.4)

Previous games
These two teams squared off in their respective regular season finales, with the Celtis resting all of their starters while the Knicks held out Anthony and Billups. The Boston reserves won 112-102, getting 39 combined points off the bench from Avery Bradley and Sasha Pavlovic.
The Celtics swept the four-game season series, but their average margin of victory was just 6.5 points. Garnett killed New York this season, averaging 22.7 points and 11.3 rebounds in his three games against the orange and blue. New York was the only team in the NBA this season that Garnett averaged more than 20 points and 10 rebounds against.

Whos hot?
Anthony sat along with everybody else in the Knicks final regular season game, but he averaged 27.8 points and 8.5 rebounds over the four games prior. Bostons starters havent played since April 10.

Both teams made significant roster changes during the season, and as a result, have been up and down at times. Pierce vs Anthony and Garnett vs. Stoudemire are the marquee matchups, but the point guard battle between Rondo and Billups will be one to keep an eye on. Rondo's speed vs Billups' power and veteran savvy could have a major impact on how this 13th playoff meeting between these two division rivals plays out.

Brady, Harbaugh found common ground on plane ride back from Michigan


Brady, Harbaugh found common ground on plane ride back from Michigan

FOXBORO -- What could have been an awkward plane ride for Tom Brady and John Harbaugh was made less so thanks to a high school lacrosse player. 

Brady and Harbaugh shared a private plane back from Michigan where Jim Harbaugh and his University of Michigan program put on an event for National Signing Day. About a year earlier, Brady told a room full of reporters that Harbaugh and his coaching staff should study the rule book and "figure it out" after hearing that they were pretty upset about the unusual formations the Patriots ran during their AFC Divisional Round win over Baltimore. 

They may not have been on the best of terms.

"I was pissed off," he told ESPN's Ian O'Connor before the start of this season. "It was uncalled for. And the rules are deeper than that, and I know the rules, and I stand by why that play shouldn't have been allowed. ... So yeah, that should never have been said."

But on the flight was Harbaugh's daughter Alison, a high school lacrosse player. When Brady took some time to share a few thoughts on competitiveness with her, he and Harbaugh found common ground.

"We had a lot of fun," Harbaugh said of the flight. "I don't know if he's talked about that at all, but we ended up sharing a plane ride along with my daughter and a couple of his people, friends of his. We just had a chance to just talk for a couple hours. And really more than anything, Alison got a chance to listen to Tom Brady talk about competing and what it takes to be great at what you do.

"And one of the funny things about it was, he was so nice to her. He gets off and they go, and we get back on the plane and we're talking, and she says something like, 'Boy, Tom really is a nice guy.' And I look at here and go, 'Tom?' I'm thinking 'Mr. Brady' would have been more appropriate. She said, 'He said to call me Tom.' I got a kick out of that.

"It was good. Lot of respect for him and a lot of respect for what he's accomplished. He's very tough to compete against. The best quarterback that's played, certainly in this era, without question in my mind. That's how I would rank him. And it's just another tough challenge to have to play against him."

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.