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: Gary Neal agrees to one-year, $2.1 million deal with Wizards

    Jul 3, 2015, 4:31 PM EDT

    Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves Denver Nuggets v Minnesota Timberwolves

    Key for the Wizards is this is a one-year deal, so they save their cap space for a Kevin Durant offer next summer.

  2. Report: D’Andre Jordan informs Knicks they are out of running

    Jul 3, 2015, 3:40 PM EDT

    DeAndre Jordan, Tyson Chandler AP

    This was expected, now the Knicks move forward with Robin Lopez.

  3. Report: Wizards trying to trade Nene

    Jul 3, 2015, 1:35 PM EDT

    Washington Wizards v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

    Washington could land David West

  4. Nets adding young talent in Thomas Robinson and Shane Larkin

    Jul 3, 2015, 10:31 AM EDT

    Thomas Robinson, Thaddeus Young AP

    Brooklyn making most of a self-inflicted bad situation

  5. Report: David West likely to sign with Spurs or Wizards

    Jul 3, 2015, 9:50 AM EDT

    David West, Patty Mills AP

    If LaMarcus Aldridge signs elsewhere, San Antonio makes a lot of sense

  6. PBT Extra: Free agent signings we didn’t love

    Jul 3, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    Brandon Knight AP

    In this market even if these deals are misses, they are correctable ones.

  7. Report: Wes Matthews reaches agreement to join Dallas Mavericks

    Jul 3, 2015, 2:19 AM EDT

    New York Knicks v Portland Trail Blazers Getty Images

    Sacramento had made a big push but again missed out on their target.

  8. Kenyon Martin announces retirement from professional basketball

    Jul 2, 2015, 11:31 PM EDT

    Milwaukee Bucks v Orlando Magic Getty Images

    Martin had hoped to return full-time last season, but the opportunity never materialized.

  9. Report: Kings offer Wes Matthews four-year deal in $64 million range

    Jul 2, 2015, 10:34 PM EDT

    New York Knicks v Portland Trail Blazers Getty Images

    Sacramento needs to overpay much more than that to lure free agents.

  10. Report: Robin Lopez discussing $12 million per year deal with Knicks; Lakers also a consideration

    Jul 2, 2015, 9:22 PM EDT

    New York Knicks v Portland Trail Blazers Getty Images

    Lopez is solid, and New York and L.A. need talent after striking out with the big names thus far.

  11. Report: Wizards trading for Bucks’ Jared Dudley

    Jul 2, 2015, 7:07 PM EDT

    Jared Dudley, Alexis Ajinca Jared Dudley, Alexis Ajinca

    The Wizards will only give up a future second-rounder.

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. L. Aldridge (5622)
  2. D. Wade (4666)
  3. L. James (3567)
  4. G. Monroe (3410)
  5. J. Embiid (3267)
  1. K. Bryant (3111)
  2. W. Matthews (3103)
  3. T. Harris (3039)
  4. D. Jordan (2960)
  5. K. Love (2945)