Knicks playing it safe in season finale

April, 26, 2012
4/26/12
1:56
AM ET
Health is more important than seeding.

That's the attitude the Knicks will take into Thursday's regular-season finale against the Charlotte Bobcats.

Carmelo Anthony said he probably won't play against the Bobcats. Tyson Chandler said that if he take the floor, it will be in limited minutes.

"You want to get into the playoffs healthy," Chandler said after the Knicks' win over the Clippers on Wednesday.

Mike Woodson is going to check with his players before making any decisions. But it seems like Anthony and Chandler won't be the only Knicks playing less than usual on Thursday.

"There will be some limited minutes played," the interim coach said.

The Knicks will enter play Thursday with their playoff seed up in the air, staring at three different scenarios:

• If they beat the Bobcats, who have lost 22 straight and may finish with the worst win percentage in NBA history, they will finish in seventh and seal a first-round date with Miami.

• If New York loses and eighth-place Philadelphia beats Detroit on the road, the Knicks will finish in eighth and face the top-seeded Chicago Bulls in the first round.

• If the Knicks and Sixers lose, both teams will have finished with identical 35-31 records. But New York will stay in seventh because it owns the head-to-head tiebreaker with Philly.

Publicly, the Knicks have said they don't care if they face Miami or Chicago -- they just want to know already.

"Whoever we play we have to start on the road anyway," said Anthony, who scored 17 points in 28 minutes on Wednesday. "We just want to start preparing, whether it's Chicago, whether it's Miami."

Some have suggested that by resting their stars on Thursday, the Knicks are trying to tank to face Chicago.

Anthony politely dismissed the idea when a reporter brought it up after the game.

"Oh come on man, next question," Anthony said.

Chandler thinks that it's foolish to wish for a date with Chicago, which will enter the playoffs with the best record in the Eastern Conference but with Derrick Rose at less than 100 percent.

"Chicago has had the best record in the league the last two years. I don't know why everybody jumps ahead and says you should dodge Miami and play Chicago," he said, adding, "We have to believe in ourselves [so that] it doesn't matter who we play."

It makes sense for Chandler and Anthony to rest on Thursday. Both have dealt with injuries all season.

Baron Davis, who has battled several minor ailments since coming back from a herniated disk in late February, could benefit from a lightened workload on Thursday. Same goes for Amare Stoudemire, who has played three games since missing nearly four weeks with a bulging disk in his lower back.

"Sometimes, in a situation like [this], you don't want to risk anything in the last game," Chandler said.

So the Knicks will play it safe with their stars on Thursday.

They may not know who they play in the postseason. But they hope to be healthy.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
19.5 4.5 0.5 31.5
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsQ. Acy 8.0
AssistsJ. Smith 5.0
StealsS. Larkin 3.0
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.5