Written by William Lee
Mike Woodson still believes that his squad the New York Knicks has a chance at the playoffs still, even after their humiliating back to back losses to the Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors. The Knicks were non-competitive in both these games, and what is most concerning is that New York are on a five game losing streak, and are 2-8 in their last ten games.
Early in February we looked into what would be a realistic finish to the rest of the Knicks’ schedule. Let’s now dive into and take a look into the standings, and the other team’s schedule to see if they might have a losing streak in the near future to even give New York fans any hope at all…to gain games in the standings and make the Playoffs. Or at the very least, not give a high draft pick to the Denver Nuggets, as New York is without their first round pick this year. The pick was a part of the blockbuster trade that brought over Carmelo Anthony to New York.
Currently New York is the 11th seed in the Eastern Conference, and are looking up at Detroit (10th seed) and Cleveland (9th seed). These teams aren’t even in the Playoffs! New York needs these two teams to fall off, as well the bubble of teams around the 6th to 8th seed in the bottom of the Playoffs to start losing. The bubble of teams at the end are Atlanta (8th seed), Charlotte (7th seed), Brooklyn (6th seed).
New York is 2.5 games behind Detroit…a while ago…we were 2.5 games out of the Playoffs… As of the morning of March 1, 2014, the Knicks are currently six games out of the 8th seed, which is currently held by Atlanta.
Looking up the Standings
Detroit Pistons – New York will get a chance to gain one full game when they go to the Palace March 3rd. Detroit could potentially go on a six game losing streak in the middle of March. Away at Toronto March 12th, then come home to face arguably the best team in the league, and the number one defensive team in the league, Indiana. Then they will go on a tough west coast trip. The opponents on the trip are as follows, Denver, Phoenix, LA Clippers, and lastly Utah. They could also possibly end the season on at least a three game losing streak, with their last three opponents being Chicago, Toronto, and Oklahoma City, whom all are top ten defensive teams in the league.
Cleveland Cavaliers – Since firing general manager Chris Grant early in February, Cleveland has gone 8-4, with the most impressive win coming against Oklahoma City. New York is 2.5 behind Cleveland in the standings, and can make up 2 games against the Cavaliers. New York will get their chance early and late March to gain games in the standings. March 8th at the Quicken Loans Arena, and March 23rd at Madison Square Garden. In between the two bookend games against the Knicks, Cleveland has a terrifying schedule. These are the opponents sandwiched in between the Knicks games, they are as follows: Phoenix, Golden State, LA Clippers, Miami, Oklahoma City, Houston….WOW! It is very realistic that Cleveland can lose all these games.
Atlanta Hawks – Currently on a two game losing streak, going into a West coast road trip, and currently holds a six game lead over New York in the standings. Their opponents on this trip are Phoenix, Portland, Golden State, LA Clippers, and Utah. Besides this trip, Atlanta’s remaining schedule does not look that daunting. Also of note, New York does not have any games left against Atlanta, to gain a full game, already splitting 2-2 against the Hawks this season.
Charlotte Bobcats – Next three opponents for Charlotte are Oklahoma City, Miami, and Indiana…that is very helpful, from a Knicks’ fan standpoint anyways. Looking ahead at Charlotte’s schedule it looks very difficult, but with that being said, Charlotte are the fourth best defensive team in the league, holding opponents at 96.7 points per game. Charlotte can even out the playing field by grinding out games against more talented teams. New York also does not have any games remaining against Charlotte, also splitting the season series 2-2. 6.5 is a lot of games to catch up on for the Knicks, the Bobcats are almost a lock to stay in the Playoffs.
Brooklyn Nets – I think it is safe to say Brooklyn won the battle for the city, if you consider just making the Playoffs a victory, the Nets have a 7.5 lead over the Knicks. Though, New York does have two games remaining against their metro rival, which could help the Knicks gain two games on the Nets in the standings, if they were able to win. Unfortunately for New York, Brooklyn remaining opponents are a bunch of teams tanking for ping pong balls. The Nets have games against Milwaukee, Sacramento, and a couple games against Orlando, and Boston. Those will be cushy free wins, on their way to locking up a spot in the Playoffs.