Knicks’ $630 Playoff Tickets Are Priciest as Nets Lag

The New York Knicks are a tougher ticket than Brooklyn’s Nets as New York becomes a two-team National Basketball Association playoff city for the first time.

Secondary-market tickets for the Knicks’ four possible first-round games at Madison Square Garden are listing for an average of $630, according to ticket aggregator TiqIQ. That’s 72 percent higher than tickets for the Nets’ best-of-seven series at the Barclays Center, which average $367.

The Knicks, a No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference after winning the Atlantic Division with a 54-28 record, host the No. 7 seed Boston Celtics tomorrow afternoon. At night, the fourth-seeded Nets, who moved this season from Newark, New Jersey, host the fifth-seeded Chicago Bulls.

Averaging $461 a ticket including the games in Boston, the Knicks-Celtics series is the highest priced of any first-round matchup because New York earned its best seed since reaching the 1994 NBA Finals, TiqIQ spokesman Chris Matcovich said.

“With them playing so well this year it definitely has helped increase prices,” Matcovich said in a telephone interview, also citing increased primary ticket costs following an arena renovation. “Clinching a two seed instead of backing in, playing really well from start to finish, has fans excited that they can get out of the first round.”

In 1994, the Knicks reached the finals, where they lost to the Houston Rockets in seven games.

The Knicks, the oldest team in the NBA at an average age of more than 31, enter the postseason with injuries. Forward Carmelo Anthony, who won his first NBA scoring title by averaging 28.7 points per game, missed the team’s past two contests with a shoulder injury. Rasheed Wallace retired two days ago because of a foot injury and Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, Kenyon Martin and Marcus Camby all were sidelined to end the regular season.

Sprained Ankle

Knicks backup point guard Pablo Prigioni sprained his right ankle two nights ago in the team’s regular-season finale and is questionable for Game 1. Stoudemire probably won’t play against the Celtics while Chandler will, Knicks coach Mike Woodson told reporters yesterday, according to the New York Daily News.

Still, the Knicks went 16-2 to close the regular season, including a 13-game winning streak from March 18-April 9.

The Knicks have the fourth-shortest odds, at 18-1, to win their first NBA title since 1973, according to Las Vegas Sports Consultants, which advises Nevada sports books on gambling lines. Last year’s champion, the Miami Heat, are favored to repeat, with 5-9 odds after a league-best 66-16 record.

The Oklahoma City Thunder, which earned the top seed in the Western Conference with a 60-22 record, have 9-2 odds, meaning a $100 bet on the Thunder to win the title would net $450. That same bet on the Heat to repeat would net $55.56.

Public Opinion

“As far as the betting public and what money is coming in on, nobody thinks the Heat are not going to the finals,” Greg Stockdale, an oddsmaker for Las Vegas Consultants, said in a telephone interview. “They really don’t face any stiff competition in the East, so the best chance they have to lose is whoever they have from the West.”

The San Antonio Spurs have the third-shortest odds to win the title at 7-1. Championship odds for other playoff teams are: the Los Angeles Clippers, 20-1; Denver Nuggets, 22-1; Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies, 35-1; Chicago Bulls, 40-1; Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, 50-1; Celtics, 70-1; Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, 80-1; Atlanta Hawks, 250-1, and Milwaukee Bucks, 400-1.

The Nets went 49-33 to earn a No. 4 seed in the East, qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 2007. The Nets’ previous NBA season in the state of New York was 1976-77, its first in the league, when the former American Basketball Association team played at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island, going 22-60. The franchise moved to New Jersey the following season.

First Game

Game 3 between the Knicks and Celtics on April 26 will be the first NBA contest in Boston since the April 15 bombings at the city’s annual marathon that killed three people and injured more than 170. While the cheapest tickets for the first two games in New York are averaging around $156, fans can get into Games 3 and 4 in Boston for less than $60 each.

“If Knicks fans are willing to travel, there’s tremendous value going up to Boston,” Matcovich said. “Especially since it’s two weekend games, Friday night and Sunday afternoon, I’m assuming there will be a good influx of Knicks fans heading up there.”

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