The season, as they know it, will potentially come crashing down on the New York Knicks by the end of play on Friday.
Following a surprising loss to the floundering Pistons on Tuesday night, the Atlanta Hawks looked to be headed down a similarly frustrating path on Wednesday. Falling behind the Celtics early, the team looked as though their inability to lock in and get things done would keep the Knicks’ playoff hopes alive a bit longer.
But a 19-3 run in the fourth quarter by Atlanta was enough to sink the Celtics. In a couple of days, the Knicks won’t likely be able to gasp for much air any longer, either.
With a 105-97 win over Boston, the Hawks have narrowed their magic number to clinch a playoff berth down to two (games). Any combination of Atlanta wins and/or Knickerbocker losses nets the Hawks a spot in the playoffs.
With that in mind, with an Atlanta win and a New York loss on Friday evening, the fate of both teams would subsequently be set.
The Knicks have four games remaining, so to keep any slim hope of a postseason opportunity alive, they must go undefeated. Even going 3-1 over such a stretch makes it much easier for the Hawks to break in. All Atlanta would need to do, following a loss by New York, is win one game.
It’d be much better for the Knicks to keep the team’s destiny in their own hands as much as possible. Putting the most “pressure” they can on the Hawks allows them to do that the most.