NBA Playoff Picture: Knicks rising increases ‘Donovan Mitchell Bowl’ chances

Over the past few days, the New York Knicks lost their No. 5 seed in the East and have since reclaimed it. This was all done without Jalen Brunson, who has missed five of New York’s last six games with a sore left foot. Luckily, the Knicks were awarded three full days off after wrapping up their four-game road trip with a win in Portland on Tuesday.

With 11 games left to play in the regular season, New York will likely remain in the top six of the conference. Avoiding the play-in tournament altogether will be huge for the Knicks after missing it completely last season with an 11th-place finish.

There are only a few weeks left until the playoffs start. If the season ended today, here’s what the NBA playoffs would hold.

New York Knicks playoff picture: Current NBA bracket

Eastern Conference

  • No. 1 Milwaukee Bucks (50-19) vs. No. 8 play-in seed
  • No. 2 Boston Celtics (48-22) vs. No. 7 play-in seed
  • No. 3 Philadelphia Sixers (46-22) vs. No. 6 Brooklyn Nets (39-30)
  • No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers (44-28) vs. No. 5 New York Knicks (41-30)

Eastern Conference Play-In Race

  • No. 7 Miami Heat (38-33)
  • No. 8 Atlanta Hawks (34-35)
  • No. 9 Toronto Raptors (33-36)
  • No. 10 Washington Wizards (32-37)
  • No. 11 Chicago Bulls (31-37)
  • No. 12 Indiana Pacers (31-38)
  • No. 13 Orlando Magic (28-41)
  • No. 14 Charlotte Hornets (22-49)
  • No. 15 Detroit Pistons (16-54)

If the playoffs started today, the Bucks would face the Hawks in the first round and the Celtics would face the Heat.

For now, fans need to hope that New York can maintain its No. 5 seed in the East. It seems unlikely that the Knicks will be able to take the No. 4 seed from the Cavaliers, but that would be ideal because it would give New York homecourt advantage in the playoffs. New York is 2.5 games back from Cleveland.

Western Conference

  • No. 1 Denver Nuggets (46-23) vs. No. 8 play-in seed
  • No. 2 Sacramento Kings (41-27) vs. No. 7 play-in seed
  • No. 3 Memphis Grizzlies (41-27) vs. No. 6 Golden State Warriors (36-34)
  • No. 4 Phoenix Suns (37-32) vs. No. 5 Los Angeles Clippers (37-33)

Western Conference Play-In Race

  • No. 7 Minnesota Timberwolves (35-35)
  • No. 8 Dallas Mavericks (35-35)
  • No. 9 Oklahoma City Thunder (34-35)
  • No. 10 Los Angeles Lakers (34-36)
  • No. 11 Utah Jazz (33-36)
  • No. 12 New Orleans Pelicans (33-36)
  • No. 13 Portland Trail Blazers (31-38)
  • No. 14 San Antonio Spurs (18-51)
  • No. 15 Houston Rockets (17-52)

If the playoffs started today, the Nuggets would face the Mavericks in the first round and the Kings would face the Timberwolves.

Although there isn’t much of a reason for Knicks fans to pay attention to what’s happening in the West, it’s still worth monitoring. It’ll be a tight race until the very end.