Saturday, April 21, 2012

Playoff Picture: The Knicks can still get the sixth seed

via NBA.com

If New York wants the sixth seed, they need to win and Orlando needs to lose. Plain and simple. The Knicks are currently 3.5 games back from Orlando with only three games left. They need to sweep their remaining games (Hawks, Clippers, and Bobcats), and hope Orlando loses their remaining four games (Jazz, Nuggets, Bobcats, and Grizzlies). That would leave both teams tied at 36-30, and since the Knicks have the tiebreaker (they won the season series 2-1), they would take the sixth spot.

What about Philadelphia?

Philly is still in this conversation. They could potentially sweep their remaining games, and join a hypothetical tie. They have the season series advantage over the Knicks, but the Magic dominated Philly during the regular season. If it comes down to conference record, the Magic will take the spot from both teams. But I don't think Philly will have a chance. Their final four games all on the road, and against some decent teams (including the Bucks who are still trying to grab a spot). They haven't been playing extremely well as of late either. So I think a four win finish might be too difficult for them.

What if Orlando wins?

Party is over. Orlando could quash everyone's chance of moving up if they just win a single game. That's all they need to do to clinch at least a sixth spot. That win will probably come when they play the Bobcats next week.

Analysis

I was pretty high on the Knicks' chances of moving up, but at this point, it looks like they won't be able to improve their playoff position. Especially after last night's lost to the paltry Cavaliers. They definitely could sweep their remaining games. The Bobcats game should be an easy win for New York, and the Clippers and Hawks are comparable teams. But it probably won't matter. I really can't see the Magic losing all four of their remaining games, especially their match up against Charlotte.

Reluctantly I'm forced to admit that the team will likely be shoved into the first round against Chicago or Miami. But, to be honest, that sixth seed might not be a real big advantage considering how well the Pacers have been playing as of late. New York destroyed Indiana twice this season. Then in their last meeting they held a fifteen point lead until they gave up a inexpicable forty points in the fourth quarter that allowed the Pacers to take the game.

Considering how the teams have been playing, Chicago would be a better match up. Especially if New York catches Derrick Rose just coming off his injury, or Rose gets hurt again. The Bulls have struggled in their past ten games going 5-5 and even lost to New York during that stretch.

But right now, Knick fans will have to wait and see how the remainder of the season shakes out.

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