Knicks Are Celtics’ Biggest Competition In Eastern Conference

Josh Hart, Donte DiVincenzo, Isaiah Hartenstein, Knicks, NBA
Mar 21, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) reacts with guard Josh Hart (3) and guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) in the second quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are a team that no one wants to be matched up with once the NBA Playoffs roll around. They have proven they can be legitimate contenders in the Eastern Conference when healthy and have still found success even when they are not.

Despite missing their entire starting frontcourt for 21+ games apiece, the Knicks have remained in the mix for homecourt advantage in the NBA Postseason. They still have a chance to move into the No. 2 seed as they are only three games behind the Milwaukee Bucks. In third place, currently is the Cleveland Cavaliers, who New York is a half-game behind.

Being in that position despite not having Mitchell Robinson, Julius Randle and OG Anunoby in the lineup for over a quarter of the season is an impressive feat. There are no timetables for any of them to get back in the lineup, as the Knicks are patiently awaiting their return.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Tom Thibodeau, 2024 NBA Playoffs, New York Knicks Updates

New York isn’t going to push them to get back, as they have found a formula that works in their place. Tom Thibodeau has been leaning into small-ball lineups recently, which will make his team even more dangerous once the postseason rolls around.

Just how dangerous of a team are the Knicks? According to Basketball-Reference, via KnicksMuse on X, New York currently has the second-best odds to be Eastern Conference champions at 6.7 percent. The Boston Celtics are the overwhelming favorites at 76.5 percent.

Being that high on the list given the current available roster is certainly concerning for the rest of the NBA. Projections like the Knicks are enough to be considered NBA Finals contenders despite all they are missing; if they can get healthy, watch out.

NBA NEWS & SCORES: Tom Thibodeau, 2024 NBA Playoffs, New York Knicks Updates

The last few weeks without so many regulars have provided Thibodeau a chance to develop and find more players that he trusts. He can turn to different lineup combinations, going small and creating havoc or bludgeoning teams with size and physicality, which has been their calling card for years.

This is a dangerous team that can beat their opponent in several different ways. The only thing holding the Knicks back currently is health as they have the pieces to make a deep run in the NBA playoffs.

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