As the Knicks have attempted to heat things up over the last few weeks in hopes of keeping their postseason chances alive, the increased presence of Amar’e Stoudemire down the stretch has been continuously praised.
On Friday night, the man otherwise known as STAT continued to ensure his impact was felt by pouring in a season-high 24 points to go along with 11 rebounds. Stoudemire had a plus/minus of +14, and New York held on to defeat the Raptors by a score of 108-100.
In doing so, the Knicks did what they could to mathematically keep themselves in the playoff hunt. Having said that, at this point in the year, New York’s destiny is no longer simply in their own hands anymore.
With the Hawks’ latest victory over the Nets on Friday, Atlanta narrowed its magic number to clinch a playoff berth down from two, to now just one. As much as one simple game stands between the Hawks and the playoffs, one game now stands between the Knicks and elimination.
Such a game, of course, can either come in the form of a Hawks victory or a Knickerbocker loss. In other words, Atlanta has to lose the rest of its regular season contests, and the Knicks have to subsequently win all of their own respective games, in order for New York to break in.
Much like Friday night, the Knicks’ season can come to a floundering end on Saturday. The Hawks play the Heat on Saturday, and should they emerge victorious, the fate of both teams will subsequently be sealed.