The New York Knicks are about to embark on a six-game west coast road trip that will make or break their playoff positioning.
Five of the six games on the upcoming road trip are against teams in Western Conference playoff position, those being the Grizzlies, Nuggets, Suns, Clippers, and Lakers. Given that the Knicks are presently in 4th position in the Eastern Conference but only 2 games ahead of the seventh slot, quality performances will be a necessity. Should the Knicks fall out of the top six, they will have to play a stressful play-in game against a pesky Eastern foe like the Hornets, Heat, or the scorching Wizards, who have won 11 of their last 13 games.
The Knicks are 12-11 overall against the Western Conference this year, and 4-5 on the road. A 3-3 stretch during the upcoming stretch, at minimum, should be enough for them to clinch and solidify their hold on a top-six Eastern Conference position and avoid the play-in game.
New York is of course one of the league’s very hottest teams at the moment, and aside from the blip against the Suns on Monday, are undefeated since April 9th. All but two of the wins during that span came at home.
What follows are game-by-game previews of the upcoming road trip. Tom Thibodeau and the Knicks will be relying on the old adage that goes “defense travels.”