The New York Knicks will play their final group game of the In-Season Tournament on Tuesday when they host the Hornets. New York is 2-1 thus far, with wins over Miami and Washington and a loss to Milwaukee.
The Knicks are second in East Group B, behind the 3-0 Bucks. The team with the best record in each group will advance to the knockout rounds, as well as a wildcard team from each conference. New York is currently in a position to snag that wildcard spot for the East with a +18 point differential, or the team could even win Group B outright.
A lot will ride on how Tuesday plays out. Miami (2-1) will host Milwaukee; if the Heat lose, they'll be eliminated from advancing. If Miami and New York win, there will be a three-way tie in the group, and the winner will be determined by point differential. If the Heat lose, the Bucks will win Group B, but the Knicks could still advance as a wildcard.
Milwaukee currently has the advantage in the group with a +39 differential, and Miami has a +11 differential.
Luckily, New York will have a good opportunity to increase its point differential against a team it has already beaten twice. That doesn't mean the Knicks should overlook the Hornets, as anything can happen on any given night in the NBA.
Can Knicks advance to In-Season Tournament quarterfinals?
The 5-10 Hornets will likely be without LaMelo Ball in New York, as he injured his right ankle on Sunday, the same ankle he had surgery on in March.
Ball played in both losses to New York this season. The Knicks won on Nov. 18 by 14 (122-108) and on Nov. 12 by 22 (129-107).
New York's focus shouldn't be hanging as many points as possible on Charlotte but instead simply winning the game. Even though it's the In-Season Tournament, the win/loss still counts toward each team's regular season record. It would be a bonus if the Knicks managed to win by 20+ points to boost their point differential, though.
Tuesday's game against the Hornets won't be nationally televised, but it will be available on MSG Networks. If New York wins and advances to the knockout rounds as either the winner of Group B or as a wildcard, the Knicks will play in the quarterfinals, which will be held on Dec. 4 and 5. The semifinals will be on Dec. 7, and the championship will be on Dec. 9.