How do The Knicks stack up against other playoff teams?

RJ Barrett, NY Knicks. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
RJ Barrett, NY Knicks. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Gordon Hayward, Knicks. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Knicks Matchup: The Charlotte Hornets

Head-to-head Record:  0-1

NY has only played this team once and it was at the very start of the season. We’ll be able to tell more about how the teams match up as they play each other twice more before the end of the season, but for now, it’s a bit of a blank slate.

Still, between the Hornets’ injuries and young roster, they could be a really nice upset candidate for New York. The biggest tactical advantage the Knicks have is the Hornets’ lack of a real starting-caliber center.  Without a defensive anchor inside, Randle and Barrett have their most dangerous offensive zone unattended. And if the rest of the Hornets have to collapse to stop the drive, then that’ll create wide-open shots for shooters in the corners.

Knicks Matchup: The Atlanta Hawks

Head-to-head Record:  2-0

This is another team whose defense is little more than whipped cream against RJ Barrett and Julius Randle.  In the two games against Atlanta, the Knicks duo would average 60 points and 21.5 rebounds together.  Strong stuff.

It’d be tricky mathematically for the Knicks and Hawks to play each other. Things would have to go really well for one of them and really poorly for the other. Or one of them would to completely drop off and qualify for the play-in game, but either way, the Knicks would be ready to face them.

Just go for the throat offensively, throw every live body you can at Trae Young, and expose their lack of shot creation when he sits. This would be a great matchup for New York

Knicks Matchup: The Miami Heat

Head-to-head Record:  0-3

This would be the worst team to face in this range of records.

Where New York has the maturity advantage over the Hawks and Hornets, the opposite becomes true when playing Miami. The Heat’s team defense is impeccable, especially against wings and forwards.  Barrett in particular struggles against the pressure of Jimmy Butler and Andre Iguodala, and with Bam Adebayo waiting at the rim you can see why it’d be tough.

The key to winning this series would be at the guard position. Quickley, Rose, and Burks would have to expose Tyler Herro and Goran Dragic on the defensive end. Then perhaps The Heat would force the pressure of the Knick’s swingmen and RJ and Randle could get going, but it’s still a long shot.

The only other thing the Knicks would have going for them in this series is the injury track record. The Heat have several key players in their 30s, each with their own extensive injury history. The Knicks are more likely to have all their best guys available.

Still, the Heat would be a tough out.