The situation is simple: if the Knicks beat the Cavaliers and the Charlotte Bobcats lose to Washington tonight, they will be ahead of ninth-place Charlotte by six games with six to play. Since they own the head-to-head tie-break against the Bobcats, the Knicks can clinch their first playoff berth since 2004 with a win and a Charlotte loss.
The franchise last won a playoff game in 2001. They haven’t won a postseason series since 2000.
“That’s been the goal (since) the start of the year,” Amare Stoudemire said on Saturday. “That’s what we’ve been striving for since training camp. Now the plan is finally coming into full motion. But we have to keep striving. We want more for ourselves. The first step is to get to the playoffs and next is to see how far we can go.”
The immediate first step is beat the Cavaliers.
The Knicks have lost all three games to the Cavs this season, accounting for 20 percent of their wins so far. Two of those losses have come since Carmelo Anthony’s debut on Feb. 23.
Anthony said Saturday that the Cavaliers game is “another one of them games where we have to go out there and get. Especially after the couple wins that we had, back to back, and the way we won. We don’t want to take no steps back.”
The Knicks snapped a six-game losing streak with a win over Orlando last Monday. They beat the Nets on Wednesday and will be looking tonight for their first three-game winning streak since March 6-9.
Coach Mike D’Antoni is unlikely to rest his regulars if the Knicks clinch a berth with games remaining in the regular season.
“We don’t have that much experience playing together… Unless a guys hurt and needs to heal up then (he’ll rest), but otherwise they’re playing,” the coach said.