Knicks reclaim home-court seeding after Nets win as East’s playoff battle intensifies

New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) dunks in front of Brooklyn Nets forward Cameron Johnson (2) in the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks (42-28) own the No. 4 seed in the NBA Eastern Conference, for now. The Knicks’ 105-93 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday, March 23 put them a half-game above the No. 5-seeded Orlando Magic (42-29) in the standings.

The East’s playoff battle is ramping up with around a dozen games left to play for each team. All of the current top-eight seeds in the conference have clinched postseason berths. The Knicks have to look over both shoulders though.

How the Knicks’ position in the Eastern Conference standings looks with a dozen games left to play

Not only are the Magic within striking distance of overtaking the Knicks, but only 3.5 games separate them from the No. 8-seeded Philadelphia 76ers. Conversely, while the Knicks can overtake the Cleveland Cavaliers (43-28) for the No. 3 seed and are mathematically alive to get as high as No. 2 overall over the Milwaukee Bucks (46-25), their upcoming schedule comes with challenges on top of the injuries they’re dealing with.

Knicks have a daunting schedule remaining as the 2023-24 season winds down

New York’s next three games against the Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors, and San Antonio Spurs will be the last bit of relief they’ll see. Afterward, they’ll have to deal with the Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City Thunder and reigning Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat before hosting a Sacramento Kings team that is 7-3 in their last 10 games.

The Knicks will see potential Eastern Conference Finals foes in the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks as well. Their road to clinching home-court advantage throughout the playoffs will not be easy. As Julius Randle, OG Anunoby, and Mitchell Robinson all continue to recover from injuries, New York will need continued strong production from players like Josh Hart, Donte DiVincenzo, and the resurgent Isaiah Hartenstein next to All-Star Jalen Brunson to position them favorably for a deep playoff run once their three injured stars return.

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