The New York Knicks have won eight of their past nine games and in the process have climbed to within 2.5 games of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
But with playoffs on everyone’s mind in the Big Apple, the Knicks schedule the rest of the way could suggest that a postseason berth may not be in the cards.
With 12 games to go in the regular season, the Knicks face only three teams currently with an under .500 record- the Lakers, Kings and Jazz. Unfortunately all of those are on the road where the Knicks have won only 13 times on the season.
Speaking of road games, eight of the Knicks final 12 contests will be played away from Madison Square Garden. That all begins Tuesday night when they travel to Los Angeles to face for head coach Mike D’Antoni and the Lakers to begin a crucial five-game road trip.
All in all, the Knicks will face the Lakers, Kings, Suns, Warriors, Jazz, Heat, Raptors and Nets on the road and still have home games remaining against the Nets, Wizards, Bulls and Raptors.
So far this season the Knicks are a woeful 6-11 against those teams, but only one of those six wins have come on the road.
As for comparison, the team the Knicks are currently chasing for the eighth seed, the Atlanta Hawks have 13 games remaining. However only seven of those 13 are against teams currently over .500 and only five of Atlanta’s final 13 games are on the road.
Unlike the Knicks, who have played under .500 basketball at home (16-23), the Hawks are a solid 20-13 at home.
If the Knicks want to make the playoffs, they certainly have their work cut out for them, which makes Sunday’s collapse against the Cleveland Cavaliers even more painful to take.
The one advantage that the Knicks may have is that later in the season they could run into situations where opposing teams could end up resting their top players. However this Knicks team has lost games to teams without their top stars before and Atlanta likely will run into a similar situation.
While it would be nice to see this Knicks team continue their playoff push, their upcoming schedule suggests that isn’t something likely to happen.