The Celtics clinched the Atlantic Division title with their win Wednesday over the Magic, but they left the Knicks with a small window to catch Orlando for the sixth spot in the East.
Orlando's loss left the Magic with a 36-26 record, three games ahead of the Knicks (33-29) with four to play.
Orlando's magic number to freeze the Knicks out of the No. 6 seed is two.
If Orlando wins twice, or New York loses twice, the Knicks will have no chance to finish in sixth. If the Magic win one of their next four and the Knicks lose one of their next four, New York can't finish in sixth.
But if both Orlando and New York finish with the same record, the Knicks would win the tiebreaker based on head-to-head matchups this season (2-1).
New York plays at Cleveland (20-41) on Friday and at Atlanta (37-25) on Sunday. The Knicks then host the Clippers (39-23) next Wednesday, and finish with the Bobcats (7-54) in Charlotte the next night.
The Magic, playing without Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu, finish with two back-to-backs.
Orlando plays at Utah (32-30) and Denver (34-28) on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, and finishes the year with a home game against Charlotte (7-54) next Wednesday and a road game against Memphis (37-25) next Thursday.
Again, Orlando's magic number is two. So two Knicks losses or two Magic wins -- or a combination of a Magic win and a Knicks loss -- would freeze the Knicks out of the sixth seed.
Wednesday's win kept the Knicks a game ahead of the 76ers in the race for seventh place. The Knicks also gained a game on the ninth-place Bucks, moving 3 1/2 games up on Milwaukee with four to play.
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