The New York Knicks have an opportunity to secure the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference on Sunday afternoon. With their final game of the regular season, the Knicks simply need to extract a victory against a thinned Boston Celtics team to retain their spot.
After overcoming the Charlotte Hornets in overtime on Saturday afternoon, the Knicks were gifted with a Miami loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. If New York retains the fourth spot, they will have a home-court contest in the first round of the playoffs.
Remaining consistent and playing Knicks basketball is all they need to beat Boston, who will be without a majority of their starters.
Boston Celtics Injury Report:
Jaylen Brown (Left Scapholunate Ligament Surgery) – OUT
Evan Fournier (Right Knee Hyperflexion) – OUT
Marcus Smart (Right Calf Contusion) – OUT
Jayson Tatum (Left Ankle Impingement) – OUT
Tristan Thompson (Left Pectoral Strain) – OUT
Kemba Walker (Left Cervical Nerve Irritation) – OUT
Robert Williams (Left Foot, Turf Toe) – OUT
The Knicks have been gifted a perfect opportunity:
Without Jaylen Brown, Evan Fournier, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Tristan Thompson, and Kemba Walker, the Knicks should easily walk away with a victory against Boston, but they canâ€™t play down to their competition in the final moments.
A competitive win over Charlotte on Saturday proved thatâ€™s a knicks desperately want to improve their seed in the Eastern Conference. Thanks to 33 points from Julius Randle and quality performances from the bench, New York put themselves in an advantageous position with just one game remaining.
A quick turnaround for New York after an OT win could have built-in fatigue effects, but luckily there were no injuries or negative health concerns, so I would expect to see a healthy rotation on Sunday afternoon. Head coach Tom Thibodeau likes to utilize variations of different player groups anyway, so he might try to rest Randle a bit considering the lack of depth Boston has. If he can get away with winning this game on the backs of some of his reserve options, it would give the Knicks’ starters a well-deserved rest while also cementing themselves in the 4th seed.