Saturday, March 15, 2014

Knicks string six wins together, make push for playoffs

The Knicks pulled off another decisive win over the Bucks on Sunday, for the team's sixth straight win. Saturday's win puts the team just three wins behind the Hawks, but with only 15 games left to play. Certainly enough time to close the gap and take the eight seed, especially if the team continues to finish strong, but unlikely, in my opinion.

The team has really played well after faltering following the All-Star Weekend where the team dropped seven straight following the break. The team only won two games in the entire months of February. But the Knicks have looked significantly better over the past six games, on both sides of the ball. Albeit against subpar teams, but the Knicks of February were dropping games to the Bucks, Magic and Kings.

However, based on my projections, I don't think the Knicks will likely make the playoffs. Again, they are just three behind the Hawks and playing their best ball of the season, but I think the Hawks schedule is too easy going forward and the Knicks have just enough obstacles to get in their way.

My prediction: I can see the Knicks winning a majority of their games over the final month of action. I think there's a good chance they finish 10-5 or 9-6. Putting them (at best) 37-45. The Hawks on the other hand have seven games I think they should win easily (Raptors, Cavs, Sixers, T-Wolves, Bobcats, Pistons and Bucks). Those wins would put them at 35, meaning they would just have to win three games other games. They play the Raptors and Bobcats twice and I think they should be able to at least win one of each of those games, but they could obviously take both. They have a road games against the Wizards and Nets that are more than winnable. They also catch the Heat near the end of the season, and might catch a team that decides to rest veterans because they have already clinched their seed.

If the Knicks can finish strong, and the Hawks are lackluster, New York will have a shot to slide into the eight seed. But anything less than nine wins probably won't get it done. If, on the otherhand, the Knicks can exceed expectations and win 12 or 13 games, they can put a ton of pressure on the Hawks to win.

The bad news for New York is, if they do get the eighth seed, they will likely have to play the Pacers in the first round. Meaning a repeat of last season's disastrous playoff series.

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