The Celtics are looking to snap out of their recent funk, and the sight of the Knicks at their doorstep tonight may be just the smelling salts for which they’ve been looking.

The Celts and New Yorkers have engaged in a pair of, uh, spirited matchups this season, each winning on the other’s floor.

“Not only the New York Knicks, but the fact that we’ve been on a losing streak is plenty enough motivation for us to try to get back on track at home,” said Paul Pierce. “You know, the time is winding down right now going into the playoffs, so the sense of urgency has got to really pick up game by game. We’ve got to treat every game from here on out like a playoff game.”

Asked why things seem to be a bit more lively when the Celtics and Knicks get together, Doc Rivers said, “I don’t know. I think it’s New York. Our guys get up for them. I think they get up for us.

“You know, up until this year and last year, we had an advantage. So we had the advantage and our guys were up. That usually meant good things for us. Now it’s pretty even, but both teams get up for each other. And it’s a fun matchup. I actually preferred it better in the past, but it’s good now. I love it. I like games when guys are up for each other. I think they’re a lot of fun.”

Further spicing the evening’s soup is the possibility these same teams will meet in the opening round of the postseason.

“You get a chance to beat them a couple more times,” said Pierce. “It really takes away a team’s confidence going into the playoffs. So that’s got to be a little extra motivation. They’ve been playing well all year long. They’re on top of the Atlantic Division. But right now it’s about heading into the playoffs, picking up the pace. The Knicks are a team that we might have to face, so we want to put a little doubt in their minds if we can go out here and get a couple of wins against them going into the season’s end.”