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Opening Tip: Knicks need Hawks collapse

It’s going to take quite a collapse from the Atlanta Hawks for the New York Knicks to get into the playoffs.

Atlanta beat Boston on Tuesday night to reduce its “magic number” to two.

That means any combination of Knicks losses or Hawks wins that adds up to two will result in Atlanta clinching a playoff berth.

The Hawks and Knicks both have four games remaining.

If New York finished 4-0, it would need Atlanta to go 1-3 to get in.

“It is going to be tough. We put ourselves in this predicament which unfortunately we are [in],” Amar'e Stoudemire said after practice on Wednesday. “We have to win every game at this point to get in. It has been a roller-coaster year for us so far but to be optimistic, we got a chance to make the playoffs still. We just got to make sure we take care of business.”

The Knicks (33-45) next play the Raptors in Toronto on Friday night. The Hawks (35-43) are in Brooklyn.

The Nets have been incredible at home, but Jason Kidd told reporters with the Nets that he may start resting starters for the remainder of the regular season.

So that may not be a good thing for the Knicks.

The Hawks close the season against Miami, Charlotte and Milwaukee.

After Toronto on Friday, the Knicks have Chicago at home on Sunday, Brooklyn on the road Tuesday and Toronto on Wednesday.

If the Knicks and Hawks finish in a tie, the Hawks will get into the playoffs because they own the tiebreaker of conference record.

“We’re at a point now where the games are running out on us and we don’t have enough games to make up the difference,” Mike Woodson said. “So we can’t afford to lose and they know that.”

Up now: Phil Jackson has been around the team. But Woodson says Phil has been “letting me coach.”

Carmelo Anthony was limited in practice on Wednesday but expects to play on Friday against the Raptors.

Woodson addresses the “bickering” about getting the ball inside and says the Knicks have established an interior game.

What’s next: The Knicks will play in Toronto on Friday.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.