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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Julius Randle, Knicks. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Knicks Matchup: The Boston Celtics

Head-to-head Record:  1-1

Despite having the better overall record, the Knicks would be perceived as an underdog in this series.

As a pure matchup, these two teams are pretty evenly matched. Boston has the bigger star in Jayson Tatum, the Knicks have better depth, a similar mix of experience and youth, etc. But the difference is that New York has overachieved this season, while The Celtics have been something of a disappointment.

This would be a great series as far as perception goes for the Knicks.  If they lose, no one would blame them.

“The Celtics have Tatum, Brown, Walker, Smart, yada yada yada. The Knicks were a feel-good story anyway.” – random national media guy.

While in reality the Knicks can match Boston toe-to-toe and have a lot less to lose in a playoff series. That would be the key difference for the Knicks in a matchup with Boston. We’d be playing to win, the Celtics would be playing not to lose.

Knicks Matchup: The Indiana Pacers

Head-to-head Record:  2-1

Another team who’s been in nip and tuck games with New York, the Pacers may be in some hot water if the matchup with the Knicks today.

The three games these teams played against one another were all pre-all-star break, a time when the Pacers looked like a real playoff team, and a time when the Knicks’ point guard rotation was noticeably weaker. Malcolm Brogdon did whatever he wanted in those games.

With the Pacers on a serious downswing, and NY adding Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley to the rotation, the tables should be seriously turned in the Knicks’ favor, on top of the positive team record they’re building on already.

The Pacers’ defensive wing duo of TJ Warren and Caris LeVert couldn’t stop RJ Barrett and Julius Randle with a brick wall, and the rest should be gravy.

Knicks Matchup: The Chicago Bulls

Head-to-head Record:  1-1

Another team that has undergone big changes recently, the Chicago Bulls fall into the same bin of all-offense-no-defense teams that the Knicks destroy.

LaVine and Vucevic are great players, but if they are the engine of a team trying to win playoff games, especially a team with a supporting cast of similarly score-first players, what are the Bulls really doing here?

The key to beating the Bulls is this: Don’t get beat on the boards.

LaVine can score all he wants, it doesn’t matter. Vucevic cannot give the Bulls second opportunities. It’s a squad full of players who can’t make their teammates better, let them shoot themselves silly and knock themselves out. The Knicks are here because they play together.  They can help each other, and play in different ways. They’re a unit, The Bulls are a group of individuals, and that’s why we’ll win.

Next. Inside The Knicks' Defense: Tom Thibodeau's Scheme. dark