Breaking Down How NY Knicks Match Up with Every Eastern Conference Playoff Team
The Knicks' record against the other Eastern Conference playoff teams this season is very deceiving.
Their overall record versus these teams is 11-12, but half of those loses came to the Bulls and Heat.
Minus those two teams, the Knicks actually have a winning record against every other team, except the Celtics who they have an even record against this season.
Due to some key trades or injuries, some of the apposing rosters aren't exactly the same as when the Knicks faced off against these teams earlier in the season.
Here is a breakdown of how the Knicks currently matchup with every other team in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Knicks vs. 76ers
Season Matchup: 2-1
Key Matchup: Carmelo Anthony vs. Andre Iguodala
It is extremely unlikely that the Knicks and the 76ers will meet in this year's playoffs, since the seven and eight seeds have never met in the conference championship before.
If they do meet somehow, the Knicks should be able to dominate with their superior frontcourt. They completely owned the boards in this season's series, winning this statistic 135-118. Elton Brand and Spencer Hawes just can't match Amar'e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler's athleticism and quickness, and it has been evident in all three games this season.
If the Knicks can prevent players like Lou Williams or Evan Turner from having huge scoring games, they should be able to win this series easily.
Knicks vs. Magic
Season Matchup: 2-1
Key Matchup: Amar'e Stoudemire vs. Hedo Turkoglu
This would probably be the easiest playoff series out of any one the Knicks may find themselves in.
Without Dwight Howard, who is expected to miss the entire playoffs with a back injury, the Magic aren't a playoff team. There have also been numerous off-court issues this season that have really deflated this team heading into the playoffs.
Hedo Turkoglu does cause a slight matchup problem for Stoudemire and the Knicks, since his range extends all the way to the three-point line. But without Howard to keep Chandler at home in the paint, the Knicks can play help defense and stop him with ease.
The Knicks already won the season series with Dwight Howard playing, so I believe they would possibly sweep a series without him.
Knicks vs. Hawks
Season Matchup: 2-1
Key Matchup: Amar'e Stoudemire vs. Josh Smith
This is a very difficult matchup to judge.
The Knicks may have won this season series, but the Hawks were without their starting center, Al Horford, in all three games. So far they've ruled Horford out of the first-round, but he is still optimistic he will be able to return if the Hawks advance. The main factor that will determine how a series between the Knicks and Hawks would go is how effective the former All-Star is in returning from the surgery that only allowed him to play in 11 games this season.
If Horford can play effectively, the Hawks are a very dangerous team as they are so balanced. They have a dominant inside presence, a dominant perimeter scorer in Joe Johnson and an athletic freak on the wing in Josh Smith.
Without Horford, everything falls apart since their frontcourt becomes small and they need to rely on their outside shooting more, which isn't their strong point as a team.
Knicks vs. Celtics
Season Matchup: 2-2
Key Matchup: Carmelo Anthony vs. Paul Pierce
This would be the most even series out of any the Knicks could face.
This season, the home team has won every one of the four games between the two teams by single digits. One of the most exciting games of the season for both the Knicks and the Celtics this year had to be the first game of the season on Christmas, when Carmelo Anthony dropped 37 points, 17 in the fourth quarter, to defeat the Celtics 106-104.
If these two rivals meet later on in the playoffs, I definitely think it will go to seven games.
Knicks vs. Pacers
Season Matchup: 2-1
Key Matchup: Tyson Chandler vs. Roy Hibbert
With Howard and Horford's status for the rest of the playoffs in question, Roy Hibbert may be the best center left in the Eastern Conference playoffs for Tyson Chandler to battle with.
The Knicks would pull off the upset in this series because Chandler has gotten the better of this matchup for most of the year. The NYK won the first two games of the series by double digits, and then lost the final game after being up by 17 points.
The Pacers have the more balanced lineup out of the two teams, but the Knicks have the star power to win this battle in the end.
Knicks vs. Heat
Season Matchup: 0-3
Key Matchup: Carmelo Anthony vs. Lebron James
This will be the Knicks' first-round matchup, which isn't a good thing since they were never able to get the better of the Heat this season.
In all three games, both Lebron James and Dwyane Wade had their way with the Knicks. In the season series, both James and Wade averaged 26 points per game. I know the Knicks' defense is much improved from last season, but that hasn't been evident against the Heat.
The Knicks are going to need an extremely determined Carmelo Anthony to beat the Heat in a seven-game series. If he doesn't average around 30 points per game, and hold Lebron James to a reasonable series, the Knicks have no chance of advancing.
Knicks vs. Bulls
Season Matchup: 1-3
Key Matchup: Carmelo Anthony vs. Luol Deng
Even though the Knicks may have lost the season series against the Bulls, they still should have some confidence that they can defeat them based on how close the games have been.
In the first two games of the series, the Bulls defeated the Knicks by five points or less. In the third game, Derrick Rose's first game back from an injury, the Knicks were able to pull off an overtime victory against the first place team. In the final meeting of the season when Rose didn't play however, the Knicks fell short against the Bulls once again.
If the Knicks make it to the Eastern Conference Finals, the Bulls will most likely be the team they meet there. They need to be prepared to go through them if they want to earn a ring in the near future.