Let’s hold this straightforward: The Knicks — the Knicks! — are going again to the playoffs.
When the Boston Celtics misplaced to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday evening, the Knicks clinched a top-six seed in the Eastern Conference.
That means the Knicks will keep away from the N.B.A.’s play-in spherical. And whereas their closing playoff seed continues to be to be decided, they know they’ll make their first playoff look in eight years.
“Check it off the list. We not close to done #NYWEHERE,” Julius Randle, the Knicks star, stated on Twitter on Wednesday.
Immanuel Quickley, the workforce’s rookie guard, expressed his feelings in a single phrase: “CLINCHED!”
This shall be the Knicks first postseason trip since the 2012-13 season, when Mike Woodson was teaching the workforce and Carmelo Anthony was its franchise participant. That was an outlier burst of competitiveness during which the workforce made the playoffs in three consecutive seasons. For most of the 21st century, the Knicks have been outlined by the carousel of coaches, public drama, underachieving gamers and late-spring holidays. Since the 2000-01 season, the Knicks have made the playoffs solely 5 instances and received only one playoff collection, after a decade of deep playoff runs led by Patrick Ewing.
Returning to the playoffs is one other step in a outstanding turnaround for the Knicks. Last season, the Knicks had been one in all the worst groups in the league and fired their coach, David Fizdale, after a 4-18 begin that was the worst in workforce historical past. Once once more, the Knicks had been a punchline.
But two months after Fizdale’s firing the Knicks named Leon Rose as their workforce president. One of Rose’s first strikes in the summer time was to rent Tom Thibodeau as coach, and Thibodeau has established a aggressive workforce tradition during which effort on the flooring is paramount.
This yr, the drama-free Knicks have an opportunity to host a playoff collection in the first spherical, thanks partially to the progress of gamers like Randle and the second-year guard RJ Barrett. Rose has made a number of different savvy additions, together with buying and selling for guard Derrick Rose, who has supplied a scoring enhance, and acquiring Quickley in a draft-day commerce.
The Knicks’ playoff seed shall be decided over the closing three video games of the common season. At 38-31 getting into Thursday’s video games, they’re battling with the Atlanta Hawks (39-31) and the Miami Heat (38-31) for the fourth, fifth and sixth seeds. Getting the fourth seed would imply the Knicks wouldn’t solely have home-court benefit in the first spherical, however would permit them to keep away from the Nets, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers — presently the convention’s prime three seeds — as an opening-round matchup.
But if the Knicks do meet Brooklyn, it is going to be the first playoff assembly between the groups since 2004, when the Nets, based mostly in New Jersey at the time, swept the Knicks in the first round.
The Knicks have been one in all the hottest groups in the league over the final month of the season, going 13-Four of their final 17 video games.