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Welcome to the Garden (and the playoffs!!) ...

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  April 20, 2008 07:01 PM

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Welcome to the Garden, where the Boston Celtics will open the 2008 NBA playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks tonight at 8:30 p.m.

It’s finally here. The trades that brought Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to the Celtics in the offseason helped give the Celtics the NBA’s best record during the regular season. But as the game notes handed out by Boston’s PR staff clearly indicate, the Celtics are 0-0 starting tonight.

There are subtle differences here in the building tonight. More green-clad Celtics fans were milling about North Station before the game than usual. There’s an “NBA Playoffs” logo on the parquet. And the press room now has a popcorn machine.

Besides these amenities, however, it’s business as usual for the players from both teams.

Kendrick Perkins and Brian Scalabrine are currently warming up on the parquet for the Celtics. Scalabrine was in the middle of some core strengthening exercises with conditioning coach Walter Norton Jr. when he yelled, “Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about,” as Pearl Jam’s ‘Jeremy’ came on the PA system. Clearly, Scal is in playoff mode.

Perkins is working on his usual pregame conditioning, which includes some high-stepping and some lunges.

The locker rooms are just opening now, and it would be a shame to keep the good stuff from you. Back in

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