When Linsanity reached its apex before All-Star Weekend, it seemed as if the New York Knicks had cinched up the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. In fact, when New York passed the Boston Celtics, it appeared that if anything the C's would be left to hold off challenges from the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks.
But Boston has been hot and the Knicks have fallen apart. It appears New York will be stuck in a dogfight for the No. 8 seed in the East. That race tightened on Friday as the Knicks lost 119-114 to the Bucks on Friday. The Cavs stunned Oklahoma City, and now Milwaukee and Cleveland are each two games behind New York for that No. 8 spot.
The Knicks have two games left against each of the challengers. The Detroit Pistons, who beat Atlanta on Friday, are just four games behind the Knicks, and have plenty of time left to get into the mix. Unless New York can turn it back on quickly, this is going to be a harrowing sprint to the finish in the East.
Of course, a No. 8 seed comes with a first-round series against Chicago or Miami, so there's a high probability of a sweep anyway.