new york knicks
Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Although the New York Knicks are off on Tuesday night, there are a few NBA games that will impact the playoff chase in the Eastern Conference.

The New York Knicks are outpacing everyone’s expectations for this season. They are currently fourth in the Eastern Conference with a two-game lead in the loss column over the Atlanta Hawks. Let’s take a look at what games matter for the Knicks on Tuesday, May 4, 2021.

Hornets (31-33) vs. Pistons (19-46) — 7 p.m. ET

The Knicks have a comfortable lead over the Hornets in the standings, but Charlotte is within striking distance of the fourth seed. It will take a Herculean effort in the final eight games to make up that ground and jump three teams, but it’s still a possibility at this point.

LaMelo Ball, the odds-on favorite to win Rookie of the Year, is back from a wrist injury and providing his team with new energy. The Hornets are must-see television with Ball on the floor.

Bucks (40-24) vs. Nets (43-22) — 7:30 p.m.

There is a non-zero chance that the Knicks catch the Bucks in the standings. In all likelihood, the Bucks will hold onto their spot at No. 3 and the Knicks will stand pat with the fourth seed.

However, this could have second-round implications for the Knicks. The Nets are only one game behind the 76ers in the standings. If Brooklyn can jump Philadelphia before the end of the season, that would set up a potential second-round meeting between the Knicks and Nets.

Mavericks (36-28) vs. Heat (35-30) — 8 p.m.

Knicks fans have been rooting against the Mavericks all season long. Dallas traded its 2021 first-round pick, among other players and assets, to New York in the Kristaps Porzingis trade. The Latvian big man is another reason why most Knicks fans wouldn’t be caught dead rooting for the Mavs.

However, this is a special occasion. The Heat are just two games behind the Knicks and they could wind up playing one another in the first round. Miami swept New York 3-0 in the season series.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.