Chauncey Billups is starting to transform into his playoff persona -- and that is dangerous for the Knicks' next opponent.

Billups' playoff preparation is the stuff of legend, as he's called the postseason "money time."

Billups, the lone Knick with a championship ring, pores over game film with a fervor that would make most football coaches blush, studying his opponent's tendencies to the last detail. Soon Billups may be seeing Rajon Rondo in his sleep.

Billups forgoes traditional water breaks during practice to shoot extra free throws. He almost always gives a speech in the locker room before each playoff game.

"It's just magnified 20 times," Billups told The Post about his extra playoff film work. "You watch every little thing that your opponent could be doing and try to beat them to the punch, try to know what they're doing before they make the play. It's hard to do, but it's necessary to be as prepared as possible."

The raging-hot Knicks (42-38) look scary enough to Boston with their seven-game winning streak and Carmelo Anthony's recent scoring rampage. The sixth-seeded Knicks will open their first playoff series in seven years this weekend, probably Sunday in Boston.

The Knicks finish the regular season tonight against Chicago, where Billups takes on MVP favorite Derrick Rose, and tomorrow in Boston.

Sunday night in Indiana, Billups showed he's entering the zone. At 34, his quickness on defense is a concern against quick point guards, and the coaching staff has used Toney Douglas more to defend the "1."

But in the dramatic win in Indiana, Billups locked down super-quick Darren Collison in the final 30 seconds, forcing him into a shot-clock violation on a critical possession with his hounding defense. Billups has been increasingly sharp during the winning streak.