Opening Tip: Playoffs?!?!?

Can Mike Woodson's crew make a legitimate run at the playoffs? AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

One phrase that you've heard often from Mike Woodson over the past few days is the following: "mathematically, we're still alive."

Technically, the coach is right.

But the Knicks face long odds if they want to make the postseason.

Woodson's troops are 5 1/2 games behind eighth-place Atlanta with 20 games to play.

No club has made the playoffs in an 82-game season with fewer than 36 wins since 1995.

The Knicks would have to finish 14-6 to even hit that mark.

In addition, since the current 16-team playoff format began in 1983-84, only two playoff qualifiers were five or more games out of the eighth playoff spot with 25 or fewer games left in the season (1996-97 Bullets, 2004-05 Nets).

Both of those teams were swept in the first round.

So history isn't on the Knicks' side. But if they want to make a run, the next ten games give them an opportunity to do so.

New York's next ten opponents are a combined 171 games under .500.

Only one team (Indiana) is over .500. And four of the ten opponents have records better than the Knicks. So they have an opportunity to make up some ground here.

“There is still maybe a little light at the end of the tunnel, if we can put a string of wins together here and get back in the race,” Woodson said. “But right now we’re in a dogfight.”

What about the teams the Knicks are fighting with for that last spot?

Six of the Hawks' next 10 opponents are in playoff position. And Cleveland has a brutal upcoming schedule, with eight of its next 10 opponents currently being in playoff position. The two games they play against teams on the outside of the playoff race are against the Knicks.

The other team between New York and a playoff spot is the Pistons. Detroit has an easier upcoming schedule than the Cavs. Four of its next ten games are against teams currently in playoff position.

But the Pistons play seven of those 10 games on the road.

So if the Knicks are going to make a miracle run at the playoffs, they’ll have a good opportunity to make a dent in the next 10 games.

Up now: Chris Broussard reports that Joakim Noah has talked to free-agent-to-be Carmelo Anthony about playing for the Bulls over All-Star Weekend.

Knicks fans are planning a protest outside of MSG later this month.

Looking for someone to blame for this miserable Knicks season? Mike Woodson says it's "all on my shoulders."

What's next: The Knicks play the Jazz at home on Friday night.

Question: Do you think the Knicks have a legitimate shot to make the playoffs?

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