New York Knicks: 5 Most Important Games Remaining on Schedule

Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

The New York Knicks would be the 8-seed in the NBA Playoffs if the season ended today. These games will be crucial if they want to stay locked on that path.

Roughly one month remains in the 2020-21 NBA Season and the New York Knicks are right on the ‘Playoff Bubble’ so to speak. At 28-27, the Knicks are the 8-seed in the Eastern Conference, with the top 10 making it to the newly formatted NBA Playoffs.

The remaining schedule for New York includes two games against Zion Williamson and an away stretch against Western Conference opponents from May 2 to May 11.

While it’s fun to look ahead, the players are taking it one game at a time, with 18 huge games still left to be played. With that being said, a handful of these games seem a little more important than the others.

Knicks vs. Hawks | April 21st

Leading up to the April 21st game, the New York Knicks have three more games against Western Conference opponents and one against the Charlotte Hornets. That game against the Hawks is easily the next biggest game on the Knicks’ schedule.

The Hawks are currently the 4-seed, but by a mere 1.5 games over New York. Standing in the way of Atlanta before this game is the Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, and Orlando Magic. It’s safe to say that two games will still be a rough difference between The Knicks and Hawks at the time of this game.

New York leads the season series 2-0, which gives the Knicks a great shot at a regular-season sweep, and a big win over a team trying to battle for a playoff spot. On January 4, Julius Randle absolutely torched Atlanta, going over for 28 points, 17 rebounds, and 9 assists.

But both of those Knicks wins came before the Hawks’ current resurgence – winners of 15 of their last 20 games. If New York can take a page from its previous two wins over Atlanta and make it three, it would be huge going forward.

Knicks vs. Raptors | April 24th

The Hawks game kicks off a very important stretch in late April against playoff-minded teams at Madison Square Garden. Next in line is Toronto.

The Raptors are in 11th place in the East and have been wavering since the All-Star break.

But they’re still in the mix and an Atlantic Division rival that New York desperately needs to beat to separate itself in the playoff picture.

New York recently beat the Raptors, 102-96 at MSG. Finding a way to beat Toronto for a second time in April could push the needle even closer to being a playoff lock.

Knicks vs. Bulls | April 28th

The final game of a six-game homestand in late April comes against the Chicago Bulls. It’ll also be the fourth time New York will appear on ESPN since April 16, highlight the magnitude of the game at hand and that mini-stretch for the Knicks.

This will be the last time New York and Chicago will square off in the regular season, and by all intents and purposes could decide seeding. Both teams are right on the cusp of being in the playoffs and missing them entirely, so it could even be the difference between making the playoffs or not.

The two storied franchises split a two-game away stance in Chicago in early February. The Bulls won the first game, 110-102 and two days later, New York won 107-103.

They’ve been close when they played and are close in the standings. April 28 is going to be a big one for the Knicks and Bulls.

Knicks vs Hornets | May 15

The Hornets are currently the 6-seed in the East, but given the injuries of LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward, the Hornets are one team New York can overtake between now and May 16.

It’ll also come at a pivotal time for the New York Knicks. After the game against Chicago on April 28th, New York will go out west for a six-game road trip, before returning home for a game against San Antonio and then Charlotte.

The Hornets will come to MSG on April 20, but I wanted to highlight this game instead, considering just one more game remains on the Knicks schedule after it.

There’s a chance this game will have implications similar to the Bulls one, and also even more. Games at the tail end of the season always seem to hold more weight. A win over Charlotte could propel the Knicks into the playoffs.

Knicks vs. Celtics | May 16th

The final game of the Knicks’ regular-season schedule will be against one of its biggest rivals.

The Boston Celtics are currently just a half a game above New York and the two teams have split the regular-season series, with the Knicks absolutely bashing the C’s by thirty back in January.

This game will likely hold the weight of an actual playoff game. It’s tough to give an accurate forecast right now, but set odds between 20 and 30% that the winner gets the higher seed in the 2021 NBA Playoffs.

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