With Saturday’s win over the Hornets, the Knicks can still finish as high as fourth in the Eastern Conference. A big factor in where the they end up is Saturday’s game between the Bucks and Heat, though New York still has a game of its own on Sunday against the Celtics.
While scoreboard watching is inevitable, head coach Tom Thibodeau still wants his team focused on controlling what they can control.
“For us, we have to step by step,” Thibodeau said. “We've got a quick turnaround to get ready for Boston, so we can't worry too much about the other teams. But it's your business, so you're aware of what's going on. For us, the big thing was taking care of the game we had at hand.
“If you take care of all the little things, the big things will take care of themselves. That's the way we've approached the whole season and we haven't changed one bit.”
Julius Randle hasn’t changed one bit either, as the breakout star collected his sixth triple-double of the season in Saturday’s overtime victory.
He won’t be altering his Saturday night plans for the Heat-Bucks game, because he was already planning on tuning in.
“Of course I'll be watching,” Randle said. “I watch all the games anyway, but obviously when it has something to do with us, I'll be watching. But whatever happens happens, and we'll be ready for whatever challenges are ahead.”
The Knicks don’t yet know who their first-round opponent will be, but have won 15 of their last 20 games, with the final contest of the regular season set for Sunday.
They’re peaking at the right time, and Randle feels playing in meaningful games leading up to the playoffs can only help the team.
It's felt like [playoff intensity] for a while honestly,” Randle said. “The last couple games when we were on the road trip, everybody is gearing up for the playoffs. Every game has really had that type of intensity or environment, and I think that's prepared us.”