The New York Knicks control their own destiny for the fourth seed, but they will still be watching when the Hawks and Wizards play on Monday.
The New York Knicks are on the cusp of clinching a playoff berth, but they still have a lot to play for in the last four games. New York holds a slim one-game lead in the standings over the Atlanta Hawks and Miami Heat for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and home-court advantage in the first round.
It’s also worth noting that the Knicks are two games in front of the Boston Celtics, which means New York can keep them at bay with a 2-2 record over their last four games this year.
Let’s take a look at Monday night’s game between the Hawks and Wizards to figure out how this affects the Knicks.
Hawks (37-31) vs. Wizards (32-36) — 7:30 p.m. ET
This is the one game on Monday with major implications for the Knicks. They don’t have to worry about the Wizards, who are fighting their way into that 7 vs. 8 play-in game.
Washington has been one of the hottest teams in the NBA over the second half of the season. They are 15-4 since April 7 as they climb the standings in the Eastern Conference.
The Hawks, on the other hand, have been excellent since Nate McMillan took over for the ousted Lloyd Pierce. Atlanta is 23-11 under McMillan after starting the year 14-20 under Pierce.
This game features two of the most exciting point guards in the league. Russell Westbrook can pass Oscar Robertson on the NBA’s all-time triple-double list after notching 17 triple-doubles in his last 20 games. Washington is 15-5 over that span.
Meanwhile, Trae Young continues to be one of the most dynamic pick-and-roll point guards. Defenses are forced to key in on Young’s penetration on almost every possession he’s on the floor.
The Hawks and Wizards will square off twice in the next three days. These games could shake up the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference, especially as it relates to the Knicks.