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Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Amare: 'We want to move up [to sixth]'

By Jared Zwerling

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- If the Knicks beat the Clippers and the Magic lose to the Bobcats Wednesday night, they'll still be in play for the sixth seed. And that's exactly what the Knicks, who are currently sitting at the seventh spot, are aiming for.

"We want to move up," Amare Stoudemire said after Wednesday's practice. "We want to try to see if we can move up. Obviously we want to have the best position as possible. It's based on a few other teams on what happens, so the only thing we can do is control our games and see if we can win tonight."

If that were to happen, the Knicks would avoid a major uphill battle versus the Bulls or Heat. Instead, the Knicks would face the third-seeded Pacers, a team they're 2-1 against in head-to-head matchups this season.

Mike Woodson said that teams should always try to improve their seeding, but he stressed the Knicks will have to go through the top teams anyway at some point.

"I think you've got to try to better your position, but it really doesn't matter as far as I'm concerned who we play," he said. "At the end of the day, you're still going to have to win on somebody's floor to get to the next round. But I think it's important that you keep winning. I mean, that's just me. This is a big game for the Clippers as well because they're still playing for something, too, so it should be a good game. Everybody's playing for something."

Stoudemire said the team has built some positive momentum heading into the playoffs, and he likes the chemistry they're developing, especially between him and Carmelo Anthony. But Stoudemire and Woodson know they have to maintain their focus and effort that's led to their 16-6 record since March 14 -- even at a higher degree during the postseason.

"We've still got a lot of work on our hands and I'm sure every team that's in the playoffs feels the same way," Woodson said. "The positives out of the playoffs are going to happen if guys are committed and willing to put forth the effort once the playoffs start because it's a different game. It's not the same as the regular season. [The referees] let you get after each other a little bit more and only the strong survive."

What could also happen tonight is that the Knicks definitely lock up the seventh seed by them and the Magic winning, and the Sixers losing to the Bucks.

Whatever the case, Stoudemire strongly believes his guys can make a deep run in the playoffs.

"Absolutely," he said.

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