NBA Playoffs 2021: Breaking Down the Seeding Scenarios for New York Knicks

Published 05/14/2021, 7:00 AM EDT
Feb 7, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Head coach Tom Thibodeau of the New York Knicks speaks with Julius Randle #30 during the game against the Miami Heat at Madison Square Garden on February 07, 2021 in New York City. Mandatory Credit: Mike Stobe/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports


The New York Knicks fans are on cloud nine right now; their team has officially secured a playoff berth for the first time since 2013. But the job is not done yet as the Knicks are still fighting for a higher seeding spot in the East. So the question is – with just two regular-season games to go, how high can the Knicks go? And what does their post-season draw look like?

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The major change or the addition to this year’s post-season is the NBA play-in tournament. Teams ranked from the 7th-10 place will contest in that. But the Knicks don’t have to worry about this one bit as they lie 6th on the table, four games ahead of the 7th-placed Boston Celtics.

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The main worry for the Knicks is not about falling down but climbing up the ladder in the East. The top 3, comprising the Sixers, Nets, and the Bucks, are untouchables for the Knicks or for any other team in the East.

Hence, what they are eyeing right now is the 4th seed in the East since just half a game separates three teams. Take a look at the standings

  • 3 – Milwaukee Bucks (45-25)
  • 4 – Atlanta Hawks (40-31) – 5.5 games back
  • 5 – Miami Heat (39-31) – 6 games back
  • 6 – New York Knicks (39-31) – 6 games
  • 7 – Boston Celtics (35-35) – 10 games back

Games remaining in the regular season – 2

The remaining schedule for the New York Knicks

On May 15, 2021, the Knicks play the Charlotte Hornets (12 noon ET) at Madison Square Garden. Then on May 16, 2021, they will take on the Boston Celtics (12 noon ET) at Madison Square Garden.

Likely seeding scenarios based on the two remaining games

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While the Knicks have the same record as the Heat, they lie below them courtesy of their unfavorable head-to-head record against them. So even if they win their remaining two games, they may not be able to leapfrog the Heat in the standings.

As for the Hawks, the Knicks will overtake them in the table if they win their remaining two games even if the Hawks win their final regular-season game. It is because the Knicks have a superior head-to-head record against them. Hence, they can climb as far as fifth in the table, independent of the results of their opponents.

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The fourth and fifth place would mean the same playoff draw since those two teams will face each other in the first round. It’s just that they won’t get the home advantage in the first round if they stay fifth. Hence, these next two games are all too important for the Knicks.

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Bharat Aggarwal

757 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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