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Thursday, April 26, 2012
Steve Kerr: Knicks needed the sixth seed

By Jared Zwerling

The question will exhaust itself from now until the Knicks finish playing the Bobcats Thursday night: Who would they rather face in the first round, the Bulls or Heat? Because until the game is in the books, the seventh and eighth seeds are up for grabs between the Knicks and Sixers.

After the Knicks' 99-93 win over the Clippers Wednesday night, the consensus in the locker room was that the players don't care who they play. They realize the Bulls and Heat are the Eastern Conference leaders for a reason, and neither should be taken lightly. However, many deem the Bulls as the more desirable matchup because of a gimpy Derrick Rose, whereas the offensive and defensive juggernaut Heat are the most dangerous team entering the playoffs.

But one insider, five-time NBA champion and TNT NBA analyst Steve Kerr, says forget Bulls or Heat. He told ESPNNewYork.com that the Knicks had to finish sixth or higher to have a shot at getting to the semifinals.

"I just think they needed to get to the sixth spot to have a chance to win," said Kerr, who will be a big part of TNT's playoff coverage, which gets underway this Saturday, April 28. "You never know. They've got plenty of talent and obviously with [Tyson] Chandler's defense, they can scare either Miami or Chicago. But I just have a hard time seeing them beating either one of those teams in a seven-game series.

"I think they're going to play Miami, though, because I don't think Philadelphia wants to play Miami. I think Philadelphia would prefer to play the Bulls. I think Philly may lay down here in the last game or two."

Kerr said what's most impressed him about the Knicks' recent play under Mike Woodson, as they've gone 17-6, is that they've finally bought into an offensive and defensive system and have been consistent running it.

"They look comfortable," Kerr said. "I think that Tyson Chandler has solidified their defense over the course of the year and Carmelo [Anthony] now is playing at a really high level, whereas earlier in the year he was struggling. They just seem to have more of an identity and a little more confidence than what they had earlier in the season.

"With all the change and the condensed schedule and everything else, it's been a crazy year for New York, but they seem to be settling in at the right time. They've had like three different seasons in one. It's really bizarre, but hopefully Jeremy [Lin] will get healthy and get right back at it next year."

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