It really could happen. For all the nuttiness that has gone on around the New York Knicks this season, they might actually make the postseason.
The Knicks moved to just one game back of the fading Atlanta Hawks thanks to a huge 89-84 win over the Golden State Warriors in Oakland on Sunday. New York is two games back in the loss column and has a tough closing schedule, but Atlanta has lost six straight games and is really struggling. The Hawks do currently own the tiebreaker by virtue of having a better conference record.
While the Knicks are in position to possibly overtake the Hawks, don't count out the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs beat the Indiana Pacers on Sunday and are just 2½ games behind Atlanta, although there's a four-game difference in the loss column.
At the top of the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat may be on the verge of catching Indiana. The two teams are tied in the loss column and there's still one matchup left in Miami. The Pacers have been a terrible road team of late, failing to score 80 points in each of their last four games away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Here's a look at the playoff race in the East (x - clinched playoff berth, y - clinched division):
|1. y - Indiana Pacers||52||22||-|
|2. y - Miami Heat||50||22||1|
|3. x - Toronto Raptors||42||31||9½|
|4. x - Chicago Bulls||41||32||10½|
|5. Brooklyn Nets||39||33||12|
|6. Washington Wizards||38||35||13½|
|7. Charlotte Bobcats||35||38||16½|
|8. Atlanta Hawks||31||41||20|
|9. New York Knicks||31||43||21|
|10. Cleveland Cavaliers||30||45||22½|
In the Western Conference, the battle for the final playoff spots remains fierce. On this day, the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks are the final two teams in the postseason, with the Memphis Grizzlies on the outside looking in.
But while the Grizzlies are a half-game out of the postseason after two straight losses, they remain in good shape. The Suns have a brutal slate ahead and just botched a chance at an easy win by laying an egg against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Elsewhere, the Portland Trail Blazers have halted their slide and have opened up a two-game lead over the Warriors for the No. 5 seed. The top four teams seem pretty entrenched, with the San Antonio Spurs still holding a three-game lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder at the very top.
Here's a look at the playoff race in the West (x - clinched playoff berth):
|1. x - San Antonio Spurs||57||16||-|
|2. x - Okahoma City Thunder||54||19||3|
|3. x - Los Angeles Clippers||52||22||5½|
|4. Houston Rockets||49||23||7½|
|5. Portland Trail Blazers||48||27||10|
|6. Golden State Warriors||45||28||12|
|7. Phoenix Suns||44||30||13½|
|8. Dallas Mavericks||44||30||13½|
|9. Memphis Grizzlies||43||30||14|