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Tag:Playoffs
Posted on: March 11, 2009 11:24 pm
 

Back to square 1 for the Knicks race for the 8th

Well, the Knicks went a predictable 2-3 in the last 5 game stretch I laid out in my previous blog post, choking vs. the Heat, getting a big win vs. the Hawks, but dropping the big contests vs. the Nets and Blazers before beating the Bucks. When it was all said and done, the Knicks had given up 5 games on the schedule and had lost a bit of ground, falling 2.5 out of the playoffs.

Then a funny thing just happened, the Knicks went into Detroit and got a road win in OT. In all fairness, this is one of the few, if not ONLY, games I remember the Knicks coming from behind to steal this season. Teams have no problem sticking the dagger in the Knicks, but the Knicks finally returned the favor in a trend I hope will continue if the Knicks are going to make the playoffs. This team is due for a couple more fortunate wins.

So what now? The Knicks are just 1.5 games out of the 8th seed as I type, with New Jersey playing the sad Warriors franchise tonight to see if the Knicks are chasing a loggam 1.5 back or the Nets 2 back . But no matter. The Knicks got two left at home vs. New Jersey, that is the team the Knicks want to chase for the 8th seed. Can the Knicks put some more pressure on the 9 (ok, 4) teams they are fighting for to get the playoff birth they so desperately want? Let's check out the upcoming schedule.

The Knicks will continue the "Big East men's tourney seems like it will go on for a fortnight" roadtrip, at Minnesota on Friday (Yea?) and finishing it up Sunday at Cleveland (Boo!). The Knicks really almost have to go 1-1 here to keep the recent momentum going, and since the Knicks are not winning in Cleveland barring a total collapse by Cleveland, this better be the Knicks winning three in a row on the road Friday. Wait, Knicks win 3 straight road games? I really don't like the sound of these next two games.

Then the Knicks go home to host the Nets (big big game) and the Kings (would be a really devistating loss). Assuming the Knicks are a slight favorite vs. the slumping T-Wolves, that is 3 games the Knicks will be favored during in the next 4, 3-1 is very do-able.

A pair of wins at home with a 1-1 end to the road trip would put the Knicks at 30-38. When you objectivly look at the Knicks roster, that's pretty good.

But what value would a 3-1 stretch have in the chase for the playoffs? Not too much. The Knicks would likely still be 1 or 1.5 back after this stretch. And moving forward from next Friday, it's at Orlando at the end of a home-road back to back, Orlando again, the Clips, the Hornets, then a 3 game road stretch vs. Charlotte as the back end of a home-road back to back, and Utah and Denver back to back.

That's 7 games in that last paragraph that the Knicks will be favored only once during. Vegas will have the Knicks going 1-6 after the Kings game and 4-7 overall during the last 11 games of March. Even if the Knicks manage to steal 2 games they should lose during the rest of this month, don't drop any of the 4 they should win, they will end the month a very impressive 6-5 for the last of the month, but a not so strong 33-42 overall.

Where does that get you? Having to win out (7-0) over a difficult April schedule to get to Coach D'Antoni's goal of 40 wins? Having to have a winning record in April to get to 37, which may get you in the playoffs, but may not? John Hollinger has the 8th seed winning 39 games in his latest playoff projections. 39 will probably get the Knicks in IMO. But the Knicks are probably going to win only 34 games according to Hollinger. I agree that 34-48 is the most likely end record for New York.

So what did this win over Detroit mean for the Knicks? It was a win that the Knicks were not expected to get. Now the Knicks have to find 5 more wins just like tonight out of the 11 harder games left on the schedule, all while taking care of business durng the 7 easier games left on the schedule to get the 12 wins needed to get the 8th seed. Any bad loss the Knicks take will mean the Knicks will have to win more games then they lose as an underdog for the rest of the season. They are called underdogs for a reason, because they are likely to lose. Few teams have a winning record over an enlongated stretch of games in which they are the dog.

So my final verdit? It's looking real grim for New York. I'll keep cheering and analyzing the orange and blue. But I'd be lying if I said I won't be paying close attention to any NCAA game later this month with a projected lottery pick in it. The win vs. Detroit was huge tonight. But I still put the Knicks playoff chances at under 10%. At least the Knicks will have Eddy Curry back next season...

Posted on: February 28, 2009 6:05 pm
 

The Knicks last great playoff push begins tonight

The Heat and the Knicks tip off tonight at 7:30 pm EST in Miami, and at first glance the game is rather uninteresting to the casual observer. The Knicks sport a 24-34 record, which is only interesting if you bet the over on 31.5 wins this season for the Knicks. The Heat are 30-27 and look secure in their playoff future. So who should care about this game?

Anybody in the East with playoff hopes that isn't part of the big 3, for starters.

With 23 games after this one, this game really doesn't seem to be a huge deal for the greater playoff picture. But let's face it, the existance of the Knicks in the NBA playoff chase is going to depend entirally on if the Knicks can start beating good teams on the road. The Knicks are just 7-20 away from home, and without playing at least .500 ball on the road to end the season, the Knicks are going to make no noise when the season winds down. The Knicks are 2.5 back of the Bucks and 4.5 back of the Pistons, but Detroit is having a ton of struggles as of late and the Bucks are hanging on by a thread due to key injuries. Teams like the Bulls, Nets, Knicks, and even the Bobcats have their sights set on one or even both of those teams falling out of the playoffs by the time 82 games are played.

So which twenty some win team will reign supreme for the 8th and possibly even 7th playoff spot? The Bulls are a poor road team, but they have played 5 more road games then the Knicks have. The Nets are somehow a good road team and a poor home team, but have a brutal next five games. The Nets will be playing the Hornets, at Milwaukee, Boston, at Orlando, and host the Knicks. Going 2-3 in that stretch will keep the Nets in the playoff race, but going 1-4 with losses to Milwaukee and New York could really undermine the Nets playoff push. That is a tough schedule during which the Nets will only be favored in the last game, vs. New York, and will be sizable dogs in a few of those contests.

So what about the Knicks? Last time the Knicks fell 10 games under .500, they rattled off wins vs. San Antonio and Toronto, but those were at home. This time the Knicks will follow up this road tilt vs. the Heat with games vs. the Hawks and Bobcats at home, then go on the road for the Nets and Bucks. The Knicks as well will only be favored in one of those next 4 games, but unlike the Nets, the Knicks will have a few winnable games in this stretch. The Knicks won't be laying any more then 6 points during any of these contests, and have three of the winnable road tilts that will be vital for any playoff hopes in the Heat, Bucks, and Nets to go along with a game against the Hawks at MSG. What the Knicks do in those games may mean more then any 5 game stretch left for New York.

But this 5 game stretch won't mean squat if the Knicks start it off slowly. A loss to the Heat tonight is going to put all the pressure in the world on the Knicks. They will be staring at the Hawks, and if they don't beat Atlanta, the Knicks will need to win the next three to keep any realistic hopes of gaining a playoff spot alive. With a win tonight, the erratic Knicks gain the breathing room an erratic team like New York could so desperately use.

So who cares about the game tonight? I know I do as much as I have all season long...

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com