- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Knicks have a chance to accomplish something Friday night that they haven't done in over 10 years: clinch a playoff berth for the third straight season.
If New York beats Toronto on Friday, they will have 41 wins.
Philadelphia, in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, can finish with no more than 41 wins. So that means the Knicks, with a win, can finish no lower than eighth in the conference.
Hence, a playoff berth.
They haven't made the postseason in three straight years since 1999-2001.
As we all know, this team's goal isn't just to make the postseason. They want to finish in one of the top three spots in the conference (preferably second) to avoid the Heat until the Conference finals.
Entering play Thursday, they are two games up in the loss column over Brooklyn for first place in the Atlantic Division and one game behind second-place Indiana in the East.
Mike Woodson is well aware of his team's place in the standings and the remaining schedules of teams surrounding the Knicks.
He and his coaching staff study the conference closely.
But he's not looking for help from any of the Knicks division or conference foes.
"I see it, I watch it, I study it. But I can't worry about what those teams do," Woodson said on Wednesday. "We've just got to handle our business. I'm a strong believer in that. I'm not wishing somebody helps us out. ... I'm not begging for somebody to lose, it's just as simple as that."
CAMBY'S MINUTES: Marcus Camby played just seven minutes on Wednesday because Woodson wanted to go with a smaller lineup to matchup with the Magic. Going forward, Woodson said Camby needs to be prepared to play 16-20 minutes per night. His presence is important for a Knicks team missing Tyson Chandler, Kurt Thomas, Rasheed Wallace and Amar'e Stoudemire due to injury.
"If he doesn’t need to play I’m not going to play him and take any chances," Woodson said in explaining Camby's limited minutes against Orlando. "When the time comes, I’ll try to get him up to 16, 20 minutes if I can and if we need him he’ll be ready to give us that."
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5dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann