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The New York Knicks defeated the Boston Celtics Friday night, advancing the Knicks to the next round against the Indiana Pacers,  and that series opens today in New York.  For the Knicks, Indiana may prove to be an even more formidable opponent than their rival Celtics.  The Pacers wore down the Atlanta Hawks with a strong inside game and intense defensive pressure.  Game 1 is this afternoon.

Newly crowned Most Valuable Player LaBron  James has put Miami on his back and led the way down the stretch, while his co-star of the world champs, Dwayne Wade has nursed injuries.  The extended vacation ends on Monday night in South Beach when the Heat opens it’s second round series against the Chicago Bulls, who disposed of the Brooklyn Nets over the weekend.  Meanwhile, The San Antonio Spurs welcome Golden State to Texas on Monday after an extended layoff from their quick work of the Los Angeles Lakers .  The Warriors disposed of Denver to advance and a high scoring series expected between these two teams, who can put up the points.

The Memphis Grizzlies have quickly become a team to reckon with in the playoffs this season as Zach Randolph has ignited the Griz in their elimination of the Los Angeles Clippers, who came in with full expectation of winning that series.  In fact, the Clips were up 2 – Zip and allowed  Memphis to reel off four straight victories.  Also representing the smaller market teams in this year’s playoffs are the Oklahoma City Thunder, who escaped their series with Houston after holding a 3 – Zip advantage in that series, have now been put on notice that these Grizzlies are no pushovers.  Memphis went into OKC on Sunday, and was leading Game 1 all the way until Kevin Durant hit a three pointer with 11 seconds left to pull out a Thunder win.