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What seed do you think the Knicks will finish in the Eastern Conference?
Joe Caporoso - It is hard to be optimistic about the New York Knicks holding on to the number 2 seed at this point, considering their upcoming schedule and the injuries they are dealing with. However, due to Brooklyn’s similar inconsistencies and the 4 games Boston still needs to catch the Knicks, they won’t fall any further than the #3 seed. Brooklyn and Boston will keep it interesting until the final week but the Knicks will hold on and likely end up facing Atlanta or Chicago in the first round.
Chris DiGioia - The New York Knicks (38-23) have been in a dog fight with the Indiana Pacers (39-24) this season for the right to remain in the second seed. The two teams are dead-locked at 9.5 games behind the surging Miami Heat (48-14), displaying they have no intentions of falling in the standings. It’s almost impossible to predict where the Knicks will eventually land in the standings with the way the Eastern Conference is built. To put that more in perspective, a mere five games separates the Knicks at the second seed from the Atlanta Hawks (34-29) in the seventh seed, with plenty of basketball remaining to be played.
The remaining teams sandwiched in the Eastern Conference playoff picture are capable of sky-rocketing through the standings, and the Knicks can find themselves in trouble if the inconsistent play doesn’t end. The Brooklyn Nets (38-27) are breathing down necks of the Knicks and Pacers in the fourth seed, behind the recent inspiring play of Deron Williams. Williams playing every night with a chip on his shoulder due to not making the All-Star team, he’s put the team on his back. Combine that with the fact that Brook Lopez is having a break-out year, and this team can cause some serious damage.
I haven’t even mentioned two of the savviest and best defending teams, the Chicago Bulls (35-28) and the Boston Celtics (34-29). I believe the Bulls will have difficulty making a push in the standings until they can have former MVP Derrick Rose take the court on a nightly basis, but it’s unclear if that will even happen in 2013. The Celtics have been on a surprising tear since the Rajon Rondo injury, but their age can put a halt on a major run in the standings.
The Eastern Conference playoff picture can truly pan out into different match-ups on a daily basis with the 2013 regular season winding down. I believe the Knicks will be able to hold off the Nets, Bulls, and Celtics, but they are going to be flip flopping the second and third seed constantly. It’s going to come down to who can get that final win.
Matt Fritz - With 21 games left in the Knicks season, and looking past what will most likely be a season ending injury to Amar’e Stoudemire, I still feel as though the Knicks will finish with the number 2 seed for the Eastern Conference playoffs. Of those final 21 games, the Knicks will be at the Garden for just nine of them, and they will play against 12 plus .500 teams. It also just so happens that of those nine teams they will face at home, just two of them are above .500. It will not be an easy task for this Knicks team to finish the season the #2 seed, but I think this is where some of their veteran leadership will come into play, ie; Kidd, Camby, Chandler, and yes even Melo. If there are two teams that worry me right now in the East in terms of catching us for the #2 seed, its the Indiana Pacers and the Boston Celtics. Both are extremely tough teams and have showed to be a tough team in the past for the Knicks to beat. Hopefully the Knicks can get back on the right track tonight in Denver, but it won’t be an easy task.
Tim Murray - With the loss of STAT and Melo fighting a recent knee injury it seems likely that the Knicks will take the third seed in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers have been performing at a high level and the Knicks are currently in a very tough stretch of games that started with losses against the Thunder and Warriors and continues tonight against the Nuggets. Although the Nets, Bulls and Celtics have proven themselves this season I still do not see any of them stealing the third seed. Knicks fans can take some comfort in the third seed though because it would still delay meeting the Heat until the Eastern Conference Finals. Although I’d much rather play the Hawks, the current seventh seed than the Celtics, the current sixth seed what confidence does it show in the Knicks chances against Miami if everyone’s afraid to go up against a Rondo-less Celtics squad? The Knicks chances at a championship are all about delaying a match-up against the Heat as long as possible in order to pick up some momentum and the third seed still accomplishes that.
Kevin Smith – Healthy Melo or not, the Knicks are destined for the third seed. They showed they have the team camaraderie to win some games without their superstar and the way things looked the other night in Golden State, Melo is sure to miss some more time. If they had an easier schedule, they might be able to hold on to their current second position, but with home games against Memphis, Boston, and Indiana left, plus road games in Miami, Chicago, Oklahoma City, and Boston, not to mention the remainder of their last West Coast trip left, it will be difficult for them to hold on to their current spot. They have the roster depth to fend off the Brooklyn Nets, who are sure to make a push for taking over the Atlantic Division lead, but if Melo isn’t playing at full strength and with a tough upcoming schedule, it will be a miracle if the Knicks wind up with the second seed in the East.