Knicks, Celtics resume rivalry in Boston

Old rivals will meet on Tuesday night when the Atlantic Division leading New York Knicks visit the Boston Celtics at TD Bank Garden.

Both teams will be missing major pieces as the Knicks inch toward the Atlantic Division title. They are two games ahead of state rivals, the Brooklyn Nets, but both teams have clinched a playoff spot.

The Knicks will be without Amare Stoudemire, who is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season with a knee injury, and Tyson Chandler, who has missed time with a bulging disc. Chandler is listed as questionable, but Kurt Thomas, who was filling in for Chandler, is out with a stress reaction in his foot.

Filling in has been Kenyon Martin, who was first signed to a 10-day contract on Feb. 23, then inked for the remainder of the season on Mar. 15. Over his last three games, Martin has averaged 16 ppg. and 7.0 rpg.

"Just tried to stay ready," said Martin. "It's a blessing to be back playing and just trying to stay ready once there was an opportunity for me to play - it's unfortunate it had to come because of injury."

The Knicks have won four in a row and two straight on the road. They swept a home-and-home series with the Toronto Raptors on Friday and Saturday.

On Saturday, at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks crushed Toronto, 110-84. Carmelo Anthony led the way with 28 points and J.R. Smith added 25 off the bench.

The Celtics are reeling, losers of four consecutive games. Three of those setbacks came on a recent road trip through the south and Boston has fallen 6 1/2 games behind the Knicks in the Atlantic Division race.

Boston is seventh in the Eastern Conference. The C's are two games behind the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks for fifth or sixth, but Boston is also two games ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks, who are eighth.

Injuries are starting to mount for the Celtics, who have been without Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger for months.

Kevin Garnett missed the Celtics' last game, a 110-106 loss Saturday night in Memphis. Courtney Lee also sat out, but his sprained ankle is good enough to go on Tuesday.

Garnett will miss more time with left ankle inflammation. General Manager Danny Ainge suggested Garnett would be out a few weeks as a precaution, but there was no serious damage.

"I don't know what long term is, but if you mean that he's not going to play this year, no, I don't worry about that," head coach Doc Rivers said after practice on Monday. "But can he miss four or five games? Yeah. That's probably possible."

Boiled down, Garnett is expected to be there for the postseason.

The two rivals have split the season series with each team winning on the other's home court. The Knicks' victory in Boston this season snapped an 11- game losing streak in Boston.

The two sides will meet in Madison Square Garden on Sunday.