Wednesday, April 25, 2012
W2W4: Knicks vs. Clippers
By Ian Begley
The Knicks' playoff picture should be much clearer by the end of Wednesday's game against the Clippers, who may be without Chris Paul (left groin strain). Below we'll go through the playoff scenarios and take a look at a some other things to watch:
PLAYOFF PUSH: The Knicks can stay alive for sixth, clinch seventh or move into eighth after Wednesday's games. Here's a breakdown:
SIXTH: The Knicks (34-30) enter play two games back of Orlando (36-28). The Magic host the Bobcats on Wednesday.
If the Magic wins, it locks up the sixth seed. If it loses, New York still has an opportunity to move into sixth. To do so, the Knicks would need Orlando to lose to Memphis in its regular-season finale and they'd need to beat Charlotte on Thursday to close out the regular season.
New York holds the tie-breaker over the Magic.
Orlando has lost three straight but it would shock the NBA if they fell to the Bobcats, who've lost 21 in a row.
Charlotte (7-57) needs to defeat the Magic on Wednesday or the Knicks on Thursday to avoid setting the record for the NBA's worst-ever winning percentage. The 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers hold the mark at .110, going 9-73 in that full season, but a 7-59 finish would leave the Bobcats at .106.
SEVENTH: The Knicks enter play Wednesday with the same 34-30 record as the Sixers. But the Knicks hold the tiebreaker based on head to head match ups.
That means if the Knicks beat the Clippers and Philadelphia loses to Milwaukee, the Knicks can finish no worse than the seventh seed.
EIGHTH: If the Knicks lose and the Sixers win on Wednesday, the Knicks would fall into the eighth seed and a first-round matchup with the Chicago Bulls.
But Philadelphia is reportedly sitting Elton Brand and Andre Igoudala in the season's final two games, increasing the odds that it loses both games.
CHEMISTRY ON THE FRONT LINE:Amare Stoudemire has played just two games since sitting out for nearly a month with a back injury. Just one of those was played alongside both Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler.
It will be interesting to see how Stoudemire, Anthony and Chandler work together on the front line Wednesday and in Thursday's regular-season finale against Charlotte (if they play).
For most of the season, Stoudemire and Chandler have had a tough time with spacing near the basket. Also, Stoudemire seems to have thrived in the pick and roll when Chandler's not on the floor.
We'll see if that's something Woodson can remedy beginning with tonight's game, which by the way, also means something for the Clippers.
The Clippers need to beat the Knicks or for the Grizzlies to lose to the Magic on Thursday to seal their grip on the fourth seed and get home-court in the 1st round. The Clippers and Grizzlies currently have the same record, but Los Angeles holds the tiebreaker.