Knicks secure playoff berth with Bucks loss

With the Bucks' 118-109 loss to the Pacers Thursday night, that means the Knicks will be in the playoffs for the second year in a row.

Even if the Knicks and Bucks both finish at 33-33 (they already split their season series 2-2 and could tie in conference record), the Knicks will have already earned a playoff berth because they have won the third tiebreaker, which is a team's record versus Eastern Conference playoff teams.

Now the Knicks, currently the seventh seed, have a chance to move up to the sixth spot, where the currently Magic sit.

The Knicks (33-29) and Magic (36-26) both have four games remaining. If the Knicks go 4-0 and the Magic go 1-3, finishing with the same 37-29 record, the Knicks will bump the Magic down because they own the tiebreaker based on head-to-head matchups this season (2-1).

The Knicks start the final leg on an easier note. While they face the lowly Cavaliers (20-41) on Friday, the Magic meet the Jazz (33-30) the following night. From there, the Knicks play the Hawks, Clippers and Bobcats, and the Magic play the Nuggets, Bobcats and Grizzlies.

The biggest advantage the Knicks have is their star player who's been sizzling lately, Carmelo Anthony, while Dwight Howard will undergo back surgery on Friday morning in Los Angeles to repair a herniated disk.

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