With the 2012-13 NBA regular season coming to a close, the New York Knicks are in rather unfamiliar territory. For the first time since 1994, the Knicks are seeded second in the Eastern Conference playoff structure.
In order to make a run to the title, they'll need to capitalize on their home-court advantage—even when it's run out.
The Knicks will own home-court advantage during the first round and the Eastern Conference semifinals if they advance. During the Eastern Conference Finals, the Knicks would travel during four of their seven games if they are to play the Miami Heat.
Regardless of who they play, the Knicks must capitalize on the advantage—not just the way the series is set up.
At Home Under Woodson
Current New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson took over from Mike D'Antoni on March 14, 2012 against the Portland Trail Blazers. Since that day, the Knicks are 71-34.
More applicably, they're 41-11 at Madison Square Garden.
This is the true advantage that the Knicks possess over any opponent, as they've been a dominant force while playing at home. Not only are they 30-10 in New York in 2012-13, but six of those losses came from Dec. 17 to Jan. 21.
They haven't lost another home game since March 7—a span of nine contests.
Furthermore, the Knicks are averaging 102.8 points per home game in 2012-13. They're allowing just 94.1 points at Madison Square Garden, thus creating a point differential of 8.7 per contest.
Capable on the Road
If the New York Knicks are to make it through a crowded Eastern Conference and reach the NBA Finals, they'll need to win their home games. That's not because they can't win on the road, but because they can.
With this in mind, it's fair to derive the conclusion that the Knicks will be unfazed walking into an opponent's building. Not only are they capable of pulling out road wins, but they've done so consistently in 2012-13.
New York's road record of 23-18 is second in the Eastern Conference and fifth in the NBA.
The truth of the matter is, those numbers are meaningless against anyone but the Heat. Even if the Knicks are to survive the first two rounds of play, Miami is again the heavy favorite to win the NBA championship.
The Heat are also 36-4 at home.
With that being said, two of those home losses came at the hands of the Knicks. While fans may jump to conclusions and label that meaningless, that fact is what could drive the Knicks to an upset in Miami.
The key, of course, is capitalizing on their home-floor advantage—one that is about much more than the way a series is built.