East Notes: Knicks, Tiebreaker Scenarios, Sixers, Celtics


There are several complicated tiebreakers for the Knicks to make sure they land the No. 5 seed over the Nets, as detailed by Jared Schwartz of the New York Post.

The simplest scenario would be for the Knicks to win, and the Nets to lose to either the Pistons, Magic or 76ers. The Nets play the Timberwolves on Tuesday, but as Schwartz noted, that won’t factor into a tie-breaker scenario with the Knicks.

If New York finishes fifth, it will likely face the Cavaliers, who have all but locked up the No. 4 seed.

“I think their best chance would be to play against Cleveland in the first round,” ESPN analyst and ex-Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy told Schwartz. “They’d still be a big underdog there, but I think they’d have a puncher’s chance. The top three seeds in the Eastern Conference are the best teams in the NBA. And it would be hard-pressed to find a pathway to beating those three teams in a series.”


Forward Tobias Harris said he believes there’s room for improvement as the Sixers head toward the playoffs. They currently hold the No. 3 seed in the East and that is where most expect them to stay.

“We got to figure it out,” Harris said, via Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire. “Four games left. I think the biggest thing is that in midst of all that stuff, we still got to be mentally strong to win a game or at least to just present ourselves that we feel like we win a game.”

All four of the Sixers’ next four games are against playoff teams that are also fighting for playoff positioning. Two are at home (Celtics, Heat) and two are away (Hawks, Nets).

“We don’t have much time to do it,” Harris said, via Carlin. “But when we’re defending and we’re rolling, that’s when we do it the best, but in games where we’re not getting enough stops and teams are making shots, we got to figure out how to do that at a high level.”


Coach Joe Mazzulla said the Celtics have to just focus on what they can control when it comes to playoff positioning.

“What we can control is playing the way we played the last 11 games, we’re 8-3, No. 1 in both offense and defense, and so we’re doing a lot of good things. We just have to keep that going,” Mazzulla said, via Steve Hewitt of the Boston Herald.

“I felt, over the last 48 hours (in back-to-back wins over the Bucks and Jazz), the first game we were very detailed. We managed the game well. The second game was just more of a mindset win. And so we have to put that together as we get ready for the last stretch and into the playoffs.”

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