Atlanta (40-31) and Miami (39-31) also won on Thursday. So the Knicks remain in sixth place in the Eastern Conference entering the final weekend of the regular season. And they still have a chance to face the Nets in the first round (more on that below).
Here’s the scenario for the Knicks this weekend:
The Hawks will host Houston to finish the season. Assuming Atlanta wins that game, the Knicks would need to win their final two games to have a shot at finishing fourth in the East. They’d also need Miami to lose one of its final two games. The Heat close the season at Milwaukee and at Detroit.
So if you’re a Knick fan holding out hope for the No. 4 seed, keep an eye on the Heat-Bucks game on Saturday night.
If Miami loses to Milwaukee, the Knicks can finish in fourth if they win their final two games (vs. Charlotte and vs. Boston).
In this scenario, New York would finish with the same record as Atlanta and would win the tie-breaker based on their edge in head-to-head games against the Hawk this season.
Miami holds the tie-breaker over the Knicks based on their head-to-head matchups. So if the Knicks finish the season with the same record as the Heat, they’d be one seed below Miami.
If the Heat, Hawks and Knicks finish the season with the same record, Atlanta would get the fourth seed because it would win the Southeast division. Miami would finish fifth because of it owns the tie-breaker over the Knicks.
**One other note about the Bucks-Heat game on Saturday: if Milwaukee beats Miami and wins its regular-season finale against Chicago, the Nets would need to win their final two games to clinch the No. 2 seed.
If Brooklyn goes 1-1 in its final two games and Milwaukee goes 2-0 to finish the year, the Nets will finish with the No. 3 seed. If the Knicks finish in sixth, they’d face Brooklyn in the first round.
** This scenario assumes that the Sixers win one of their final two games, which would allow them to clinch the No. 1 seed in the East.