As the Knicks continue to surge under interim coach Mike Woodson, all the team has on their mind is making advancements and climbing up the playoff ladder in the Eastern Conference.
By downing the Wizards in what was a scrimmage-like victory by a score of 103-65 Friday night, the Knicks simply continued onward in their quest. Getting a bit of help in the form of 76ers and Celtics' losses, the team was not only able to inch closer to potentially taking over the division lead, but also officially took control of the 7th playoff seed.
If the NBA season were to end today, securing such a spot would net the Knicks a first-round playoff matchup with the Miami Heat, whom they take on tomorrow afternoon at the Garden.
Though the Knicks have moved up in the standings and tomorrow's game could very well represent an entertaining playoff preview, there's certainly enough irony to the situation.
After having played competitively well against the Bulls, shutting league M.V.P. Derrick Rose down at times, New York may in fact have a better chance at playoff success against Chicago, rather than Miami. Iman Shumpert seemingly has found the right formula necessary to distract Rose.
While New York could carry out a similar strategy and sick Shumpert on Dwyane Wade against the Heat, the 2011 Eastern Conference champs have a lot more firepower where that came from, and it may ultimately prove too much for the Knicks to handle in a prolonged series.
Looking back at last night's game, the Knicks came out to prove they would no longer be pushed around by inferior NBA squads, and they certainly succeeded in doing so. Jumping out to a commanding lead early, the team never looked back and was able to rest many of its key players through the fourth quarter as the Knicks sailed to victory.
Unfortunately, a substitution couldn't come fast enough for Shumpert, who though he only played 23 minutes in the game, sprained his ankle in the third quarter. He is officially listed as questionable for tomorrow's intense matchup.
Aside from the injury, all else went smoothly for the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony poured in 18 points before taking a seat, and the team continued to receive a huge boost from spark plug J.R. Smith, who erupted once again for 23 points off the bench. Steve Novak also added 18 coming off the pine.
The feel good story of the night, however, belonged to Baron Davis, who put on a scoring display of his own with his Knicks-high of 18 points in the romp, all coming on his 33rd birthday.
The Wizards' disastrous 65 points represented the least allowed in a game by the Knicks this season.
The team will look to stand their ground against the Heat tomorrow at home, beginning at 1PM EST.