Skip to content

Knicks face first big test of Woodson era against Sixers

Mar 21, 2012, 12:56 PM EDT

New York Knicks interim head coach Mike Woodson gives instructions to players during their NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in New York Reuters

This is the reality of the Eastern Conference — you don’t want to be the seven or eight seed. You don’t want to face the Bulls or the Heat in the first round. That promises a short stay in the postseason.

The Knicks are currently the eight seed. The easiest route out of that hole is to leapfrog the Celtics and pass the 76ers, who lead the Atlantic Division but are only four games ahead of the Knicks. (Don’t look behind you Knicks, but the Bucks are just half a game back as the nine seed and have won 6 games in a row.)

Win the Atlantic and you are the automatic fourth seed (at worst) and avoid real trouble until the second round.

So the Knicks game against the 76ers Wednesday night is huge for them — win and they are three games back, something that can be made up in the 19 games that remain (although the 76ers have the easier schedule the rest of the way). Lose, fall five games back, and that dream is pretty much shot.

This four game winning streak of the Knicks — all by 14 points or more — has inspired dreams in New York because of the way they are doing it: sharing the ball, playing hard on defense, executing. All the things they didn’t do under Mike D’Antoni. Carmelo Anthony all but admitted he is trying harder under Woodson. We could discuss what that says about ‘Melo as a leader but fact of the matter is it doesn’t matter — right now it is working on the court. These Knicks are actually fun to watch. And seem to be having fun again.

Wednesday night is the measuring stick for the Woodson era — the 76ers blew the Knicks out of the water the last time these two played (March 11, the fifth loss in the Knicks six-game losing streak that led to D’Antoni leaving). It was one of those typically sad Knicks efforts where the team seemed to go through the motions without passion. Things are radically different now.

The Knicks are 0-6 on the second night of a back-to-back when the other team has rest (which is the case Wednesday night). But the Knicks have been breaking all kinds of trends lately.

Break this one and they have a chance of getting out of the 8 seed, getting out of the way of the two best teams in the conference. They get a real chance at advancing out of the first round.

Lose and the Knicks will find themselves in a fight with the Bucks just to make the playoffs and get the joy of the Bulls or Heat in the first round.

It’s a big game for the Knicks hopes Wednesday.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Pelicans interviewed Vinny Del Negro for head coaching position

    May 28, 2015, 10:30 PM EDT

    Vinny Del Negro AP

    Tough to see him as a stronger candidate than at least two others. Unless …

  2. Report: ‘At least three’ Bulls starters ripped Tom Thibodeau during exit interview

    May 28, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Players supposedly said they’d avoid team facility this summer if Thibodeau remained the head coach.

  3. Tom Thibodeau releases statement after firing, thanks Bulls fans and players

    May 28, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    Thibodeau was fired as Bulls head coach on Thursday.

  4. Barack Obama: Nobody can outshoot Stephen Curry, except maybe Kyle Korver

    May 28, 2015, 2:42 PM EDT

    US-POLITICS-WEATHER-OBAMA Getty Images

    American president tweets about LeBron James and J.R. Smith

  5. Mavericks considering signing-and-trading Tyson Chandler for DeAndre Jordan

    May 28, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    DeAndre Jordan, Tyson Chandler AP

    Clippers center reportedly interested in signing with Dallas

  6. Jared Dudley on Kevin Love: ‘If you leave LeBron, there’s something’s wrong’

    May 28, 2015, 12:55 PM EDT

    Jared Dudley, Kevin Love AP

    Kevin Love might leave the Cavaliers in free agency. Cleveland fans, if history is any indication, wouldn’t treat him well if he does. What would Love’s peers think? Colin Cowherd asked Jared Dudley – whom you might remember from saying players avoid Kobe Bryant Bryant and calling Carmelo Anthony the NBA’s most overrated player –…

  7. Bulls fire Tom Thibodeau

    May 28, 2015, 12:17 PM EDT

    Cleveland at Chicago, Game 6 Getty Images

    Bulls owner Jerry Reinsforf: ‘There must be free and open interdepartmental discussion and consideration of everyone’s ideas and opinions. These internal discussions must not be considered an invasion of turf, and must remain private.’

  8. Report: Melvin Hunt frontrunner for Nuggets job

    May 28, 2015, 10:41 AM EDT

    Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    Denver reportedly has not interviewed Mike D’Antoni

Did Chicago do the right thing in firing Thibodeau?

Despite ending, Hawks had season to remember
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. S. Curry (7792)
  2. K. Irving (5907)
  3. K. Love (5783)
  4. K. Korver (4667)
  5. L. James (4477)
  1. A. Horford (3592)
  2. K. Bryant (3581)
  3. D. Howard (3541)
  4. K. Durant (3480)
  5. A. Varejao (3411)