Melo: Knicks 'hope and pray' for the best

This is what the Knicks’ season has been reduced to: hoping and praying.

That’s what Carmelo Anthony will likely be doing Tuesday when the Hawks take on the Pistons.

If Atlanta beats Detroit, the Knicks would fall 2 1/2 games back of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference with four games left.

“We’ve got to watch this week and hope and pray that they lose some games and we got to win some basketball games,” Anthony told reporters in Miami on Sunday. “That’s frustrating, too, knowing that my fate is in somebody else’s hands.”

New York is three games back of Atlanta in the loss column. If the teams finish with identical records, the Hawks would own the tiebreaker based on conference record.

The Knicks’ tragic number is three, meaning any combination of Knicks’ losses and Hawks’ wins that adds up to three would clinch the eighth seed for Atlanta.

If the Knicks finish the season 4-0, they’d need the Hawks to go 2-4 in order to get into the playoffs.

“We’ve got to start somewhere,” J.R. Smith said Sunday. “We’ve got to get one [win] and then we’ll worry about the other three.”

Four of Atlanta’s final six opponents are under .500. Three of the teams (Pistons, Celtics and Bucks) are among the worst teams in the East. They enter play Monday a combined 101 games under .500.

“It is tough,” Mike Woodson said. “We have to win some games. It is about how we play and what we do from here on out. I can't control what the Atlanta Hawks do, but I can control what we do. These next three or four days will give us a chance to regroup."

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