Raise your hand if you thought the Knicks would be in the playoffs this year? How about home-court advantage for a series?
Yeah, that’s what we thought.
The Knicks capped their surprise regular season on Sunday with a 96-92 victory over the Boston Celtics to clinch the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 41-31 record.
It signals a remarkable turnaround for a team that won just 21 games last season and was barely seen as a threat to make the playoffs prior to the start of the season with most of the team’s core intact.
But the Knicks hired new head coach Tom Thibodeau, who has helped turn Julius Randle into a star and MVP candidate while transforming the team into one of the best defensive teams in the NBA.
Randle, 26, made his first All-Star team this year, entering Sunday averaging a career-high 24.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and six assists per game.
The Knicks are set to play the Atlanta Hawks, whom they were 3-0 against in the regular season, in a best-of-seven series.
If the Knicks can replicate that success in the playoffs, there is also the potential of a Knicks-Nets Eastern Conference Finals against Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden.
For now, it’s Knicks-Hawks at Madison Square Garden, where they will be playing playoff basketball for the first time since 2013.