Before the current NBA season started, none of the best NBA betting sites had the New York Knicks making the postseason. The Knicks were a +800 to make the playoffs on December 20 at Bovada. That seems like eons ago.
On Wednesday night, the Knicks clinched their first playoff berth since 2013 after the Boston Celtics lost to the Miami Heat. The Celtics’ loss also meant that Boston will be playing in the Play-in tournament. That’s a big surprise. But the bigger surprise is even New York booking a playoff spot ahead of the defending champions Los Angeles Lakers. Thats even a big surprise. But then this isn’t about Boston or L.A. It’s about the resurgence of the Knicks and how they’ve turned their fortunes around.
The last time that the Knicks were in the playoffs was in 2013 when they finished with a 54-28 record and were the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Mike Woodson was the head coach back then and J.R. Smith won Sixth Man of the Year honors. The team was led by Carmelo Anthony, Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin, and Marcus Camby.
Only Melo is in the NBA today with Kidd now serving as assistant coach with the Lakers and Kenyon Martin’s son is now playing for the Rockets. Current Knicks All-Star Julius Randle wasn’t in the NBA yet. R.J. Barrett was only 13 years old while Derrick Rose was still rehabbing his first ACL injury.
Before clinching a playoff spot on Wednesday, the Knicks had to endure two 17-win seasons and five campaigns with at least 50 losses.
But after New York hired Tom Thibodeau last summer, and brought back veterans Taj Gibson and Derrick Rose during the year, the culture changed drastically. Now the Knicks aren’t just content at making the playoffs, they want to move up the ladder.
Job Not Yet Done
When you take a look at the latest NBA standings, the race for the Eastern Conference’s playoff spots no. 4-6 is far from done. Before the start of Thursday’s games, the Atlanta Hawks have temporary hold of the 4th position with their 39-31 record. The Miami Heat and New York Knicks are just one-half game behind at 38-31. With still three games left to play for the Heat and Knicks, and two for the Hawks, anything can still happen.
The Hawks are in a good position to stay where they are as Atlanta finishes the regular season against the Orlando Magic and Houston Rockets who are both out of the playoffs. New York’s last three games will be against the San Antonio Spurs, Charlotte Hornets, and the Celtics who are fighting for play-in position. Meanwhile, the Heat have the tougher schedule as they play against the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Detroit Pistons.
There is no guarantee that the Knicks will move up to 4th or even 5th. But regardless of how the last week of the regular season unfolds, this has been a very successful campaign for the Knicks.
Thibodeau is a shoo-in for Coach of the Year while Randle should be the Most Improved Player of the Year winner. The Knicks won a total of 38 games the past two seasons. They are already 38-31 this year with still three games left to play.
Steve Richardson started writing content online in 2013 and has yet to slow down. Since joining our team at GamblingSites.org, he has covered sports, casino news, gambling laws, and much more! ...
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