Magic Number is 3
In order to secure the #2 seed, the magic number is 3.
The Knicks can do this winning against Cleveland, Charlotte, and Atlanta (even losing to Chicago and Indiana). You can argue that they want to wrap up as soon as possible in order to rest other players.
However, not having anyone else get hurt is a higher priority, even to the point of ending up in the #3 seed.
Even if they cannot win all three games against the weaker opponents, if Indiana loses to Brooklyn and/or the Knicks, then the magic number becomes 2, 1, or 0.
There is even an argument that the Knicks WANT to lose to Chicago tonight. It goes like this: If Chicago can retain the #5 seed and win the first round, then they can beat up on Miami physically in the second round, helping the Knicks. If they drop to the #6 seed or lower, then they could do the same to Indiana (OK but not really necessary for us), or potentially the Knicks (a nightmare scenario for us). Therefore, losing tonight might actually be a good thing for us (playoff-wise).
I understand that psychologically getting swept in the regular season by the Bulls is hard to swallow, but getting to the NBA Finals might be the end result of losing to Chicago tonight (if say, Wade or Bosh gets hurt in a series against the Bulls).
Bear in mind that Atlanta has a relatively easy schedule left, outside of the Knicks in a game that may mean nothing, or might decide the Chicago-Atlanta seeding.
2nd seed is imoportant IF knicks pass round 1 then next round also will be home court.
No doubt the Knicks want the #2 seed. I am just saying that beating Chicago tonight is not necessary to getting the #2 seed, and might help the Knicks later on (in terms of Chicago keeping the #5 seed). I would still rest KMart and Chandler as much as possible for the last 5 games, possibly shutting them down completely.
Now I'm worried about a loss in Cleveland in the back to back. Shut down Tyson and KMart completely and the boys might not secure that 2nd seed and end the season on a losing streak. Good point though about the loss yesterday being a blessing in disguise keeping Chicago out of our bracket in the playoffs.
Originally Posted by nixon7
Even though my head said that a Chicago win had a silver lining, I couldn't bring myself to actually root for Chicago in the game. But considering how short handed the Knicks were, I was happy with how they played (you can't be surprised they ran out of gas, or that they had to settle for too many threes with no front line).
Tonight's game at Cleveland is huge. A Knicks win combined with Brooklyn beating the Pacers would take a ton of pressure off the Knicks on Sunday against the Pacers. If the magic number on Sunday is only 1, then the Knicks could afford to lose to the Pacers, beat Charlotte, and then have the Atlanta game only meaningful if Chicago is still in jeopardy for the #5 seed.
If the Knicks beat the Pacers on Sunday, that would still be the best scenario in terms of wrapping it up and resting players. However, having that game be a "must win" increases the odds of someone else getting hurt, so tonight is critical in avoiding that. This is what makes the Singleton move understandable, if it happens. That said, I feel terrible for Kurt Thomas if the expected move happens. I would definitely support giving Thomas a ring if the Knicks win it all without him.
Chicago loses to Toronto. Still a stretch for them to fall to the #7 seed, although maybe they are determined to have that happen. Let's hope they can beat Orlando and Washington now, so they at least beat up on Indiana, if not the Nets and Miami.
I am not afraid of Chicago in a series, even though they swept the season series. It is more that I want to avoid them because they play so physical and the Knicks cannot afford another injury.
But as I said above, odds are still that Chicago ends up #5 or #6 (either way they can help the Knicks by beating up on someone else) and not #7. Now that the Knicks can make #2 without having to beat Indiana on Sunday, I cannot see the Knicks losing all three of the last three games (knock on wood) although best to wrap it all up on Sunday and rest the last two games.