With a third of the season in the books, the Celtics and Knicks are in a battle for one of the two final Eastern Conference playoff spots. The Celtics hold a two-game edge over the Knicks in the loss column, but having lost four of their last five games, the C’s can hardly feel comfortable. Just a couple of slip-ups could plummet the Celtics down to the cusp of missing the postseason entirely.
It would take a run of success by Bucks or Cavs, of course, to knock the Celtics out of the playoff picture. Neither of those teams has shown an ability to string together enough victories to make a serious push. What’s more, the Celtics may return from the All-Star break refreshed and ready for the grueling stretch run.
Yet while the Bucks and Cavs might not be legitimate threats, the Knicks are. Jeremy Lin and Amare Stoudemire have struggled to mesh, but each has shown the willingness to establish chemistry with his teammate.
If Anthony buys into Linsanity, too, the Celtics’ days ahead of the Knicks in the standings could be numbered.