Monday, April 2, 2012
Opening Tip: Will Knicks make the playoffs?
By Ian Begley
Every day throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.
Today's Burning Question: Can the banged-up Knicks still make the playoffs?
No Jeremy Lin. No Amare Stoudemire. No playoffs?
That's the question the Knicks will be facing over the final month of the season. New York enters play Monday 2 1/2 games ahead of Milwaukee for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
The Bucks have lost three of five but have a relatively easy remaining schedule.
Entering play last Friday, their remaining opponents had a combined winning percentage of .434.
Six of their final 14 opponents are over .500. Six of those 14 teams are in the bottom four in their conference. Only two currently rank in the top four in the conference standings.
Eight of the Knicks' final 13 games are against teams that are over .500. New York's remaining opponents entering play last Friday had a combined winning percentage of .515 -- significantly higher than Milwaukee's.
And, of course, the Knicks have been bitten hard by the injury bug.
With both Stoudemire (bulging disk) and Lin (knee), out for at least the rest of the regular season, New York's offense will rely heavily on Carmelo Anthony.
The health of Baron Davis' hamstring and back will also be pivotal to the Knicks' playoff chances. And offense should be the primary concern over the last 13 games (You have to think that, with Mike Woodson on the bench, the Knicks defense will be there on most nights, no?).
So will the Knicks get enough on offense to maintain their 2 1/2-game lead over Milwaukee and get into the playoffs? Or will the injuries -- and all of the bad losses earlier in the season -- catch up to them?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.