Just In: How Knicks stack up to Eastern Conference competition as playoffs loom….

It’s a special time of year. The NBA season is winding down and the 2024 NBA Playoffs are fast approaching. For most playoff contenders, that means it’s time to lock in. It also means hoping for some luck regarding injuries for the New York Knicks. But the Eastern Conference is unusually competitive this season, and every game will greatly impact seeding. But where might New York end the season?

The Knicks are presently 37-26. They are a half-game up on the Orlando Magic for the fourth seed in the East. But the broader playoff race is far tighter than just that.

The third-seed Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers are tied for second place in the East and are four games ahead of New York. Further, there is also a tie for the sixth seed between the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers, with both teams sitting two games behind the Knicks.

Even the Indiana Pacers are within striking distance, just two-and-a-half games behind New York.


Gauging how well the Knicks have performed against their Eastern Conference competition is difficult for two reasons — they were a different team before the late-December trade that landed OG Anunoby and Precious Achiuwa in New York, and they’ve dealt with numerous, serious injuries for the past month-and-a-half.

Still, something can be gleaned from head-to-head matchups. New York is 1-3 against Milwaukee, 2-1 against Cleveland, 2-0 against Philadelphia, 2-0 against Miami, 1-2 against Indiana, and 1-3 against the Orlando Magic.


Injuries are one variable that is surprisingly working in the Knicks’ favor right now. While New York is still banged up with OG Anunoby, Julius Randle, and Mitchell Robinson all still working to recover from injuries, they are all at least in the latter stages of their respective rehabs.

In fact, coach Tom Thibodeau said in Friday’s pre-game press conference that Anunoby was a full participant in Thursday’s practice.

Furthermore, All-Star point guard Jalen Brunson returned to the Knicks’ starting lineup on Friday night, looking every bit as good as he has for most of the season.

How are injuries working for the Knicks, though? Because New York is not the only team experiencing them, and the injury bug has stricken their competitors more recently, meaning there is a longer timeline to get healthy.

Philadelphia remains without reigning MVP Joel Embiid as he continues his recovery from knee surgery. Tyrese Maxey also remains in concussion protocol, having missed the past three games.

Additionally, Cleveland’s optimistic outlook took a recent hit when All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell received a PRP treatment to help with a bone bruise in his left knee. Mitchell will be re-evaluated early next week, per the team’s Twitter page.

Further, starting forward Evan Mobley will likely miss an extended period of time after suffering a sprained ankle on Tuesday per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Joe Vardon, and Jason Lloyd.

Additionally, Tyler Herro, Kevin Love, and Josh Richardson are all injured for Miami. Benedict Mathurin is out for the Pacers. And Milwaukee is still missing Khris Middleton due to an ankle injury.

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