On the morning after their first playoff game in seven years, the Knicks were still limping, rationalizing and grumbling, and still wondering how to unlock the mystery of the mighty Boston Celtics.

They came close Sunday, before losing to Ray Allen's renowned 3-point stroke and the Celtics' superior crunch-time sensibility. The 87-85 loss left room to debate the officiating and Carmelo Anthony's shot selection, but the Knicks' most pressing concern is the health of their starting point guard.

Chauncey Billups sustained a strain in his left knee in the final minute and is unlikely for Game 2 on Tuesday. The Knicks are listing him as questionable, but Billups looked and sounded doubtful after sitting out Monday's practice.