For the first time since 2004, Knicks fans rejoiced Sunday night as the New York Knicks clinched a playoff spot. With the team still jockeying for positioning, the Knicks may be looking at a first-round match-up with the Boston Celtics or the Chicago Bulls. The Knicks currently hold the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference, and are just a game back of the 76ers for the 6th seed. The Knicks, who were recently on a 6-game losing streak, seemed to hit their stride in a game against the Orlando Magic, a game they featured Carmelo Anthony scoring a Knick high 39 points, including 33 points in the second half. Point guard Chauncey Billups said in a post-game interview about Carmelo Anthony, “When he’s locked in like that and scoring at will, we’re looking at the best player in basketball.” With two weeks remaining, the Knicks look to capture the 6th seed for Philadelphia in hopes of a first -round match-up with the Miami Heat, who are going back-and -fourth with the Celtics for the #2 seed. As unbelievable as it may sound, the Knicks may want to have a first-round date with the Heat as they split a four-game series during the regular season with each team winning on eachother’s home floor.
After the Knicks win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, Amar’e Stoudemire in what was a class act, was humbled in the Knicks making the playoffs, but was sure to give credit to former Knicks like Danilo Gallanari, Raymond Felton, and Wilson Chandler all who were dealt to Denver in the Carmelo Anthony. “They played a big role in this season for us, and they contributed as much as anyone throughout the season.” Perhaps the 3-day layoff benefitted the Knicks as they seem to look reenergized in Sunday’s win. With two weeks left in the regular season, the Knicks, (Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony in particular) must get all the rest they can as they will be expected to log in heavy minutes in the playoffs. You can pinch yourself again Brooklynites, this is not a dream, the Knicks are Back!! and hope to make some noise in April.
Coach Mike D’Antoni was asked if he has planned to sit some of his star players in upcoming games. It appears that in past history in preparations of the playoffs, that D’Antoni isn’t a fan of “over-resting” players as he want hi team to gather energy, but to maintain a sharp edge. So for the most part the Carmelo/Stoudemire duo has been an up and down roller-coaster, and perhaps this was one of those combinations that just needed some time to mesh with each other. With four games left in what has been one of the most exciting seasons at Madison Square Garden since the days of Patrick Ewing, there will be a playoff atmosphere and in the playoffs, anything can happen.
Sports Notes: NBA Basketball : With the NBA season coming to an end Brooklynites get treated to one last cross-river match-up as the Knicks drive towards the New Jersey turnpike to battle Brook Lopez and the Nets on Friday night. MLB Baseball: The Yankees look to continue their dominance of the Minnesota Twins and prepare themselves for the first meeting with the bitter rival the Boston Red Sox 3-game series begins Friday. (High School Baksetball) Congratulations to both Bedford Academy high and Boys and Girls High Schools for a spectacular season.