Well, it’s hard to blame them, really. There are the 17 banners hanging from the ceiling of their Garden. There’s all those playoff games stored up in the muscle memories of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. There’s the memory of Red Auerbach’s stogie, and the original parquet, and the visiting locker rooms smaller than the back seat of a ’72 VW Bug.

You add all of that together, you get the Boston Celtics playing with house money when they face the Knicks starting Saturday or Sunday, and you get the attitude of just about every Celtics fan, eloquently and elegantly summarized in the words of Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy yesterday:

“Celtics versus Knicks in the first round of the playoffs? Bring it on!” Shaughnessy wrote. “This amounts to a marquee matchup in an ever-diluted playoff spring. These staggering Celtics always can get into the heads of the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony is an overrated ball hog who never will win an NBA championship.”

And thus were the first shots fired at Lexington and Concord.

It’s hard to blame them, really. For the past few weeks, there has been a lot of talk in these parts about whom the Knicks would draw in the first round of the playoffs, whom they should want to draw. Would it be more advantageous to tank — um, make that rest players — just a little to draw, oh, say, the Hawks, who have 17 fewer banners than the Celtics and 99.3 percent less history to speak of?

To the credit of the men who will play and coach in the series, that was never much of an issue. Knicks coach Mike Woodson, for starters, said, “It didn’t matter to me who we played,” in the immediate aftermath of the 90-80 win over the Pacers yesterday at his Garden that both wrapped up the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and assured a second Knicks-Celtics first-round matchup in the last three years.

“What’s more important to our team and franchise was to secure home court for the playoffs, and we are able to secure the second round as well now,” Woodson said. “We are going to have to deal with Boston.”