The Atlanta Hawks are currently four games ahead of the New York Knicks for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Along with their five-game winning streak and tiebreaker win against New York, it’s unlikely for the Knicks to end the season with a better record than the Hawks.
However, it is possible that the Knicks could reach the playoffs without placing above the Hawks in the standings. The seventh-place Charlotte Bobcats are currently 4.5 games ahead of the Knicks, with a record of 33-36. The Bobcats’ next three games will be against the Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets and the Brooklyn Nets. Each of the three teams has a winning record and holds a fifth seed or higher.
The Knicks’ next three games involve teams that are already eliminated from playoff contention. At first, it seemed like Atlanta’s free falling record earlier in March was the Knicks’ only chance of playing past the regular season. But with Charlotte’s current two-game losing streak and tough upcoming schedule for the week, the Knicks can take advantage of their easier schedule and step closer into the postseason.
New York has won eight consecutive games in March and sparked the chance of potentially making the postseason despite having a disappointing 29-40 record. The Knicks will need to have a record with five wins more than losses in the last 13 games of the season in order to overcome Charlotte’s current record.