Sam SpiegelmanThe New York Knicks (27-40) host the Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Pacers Wednesday night trying to avoid their first season sweep by the Pacers since the 2007-08 season.
It also marks the first of 15 games the team has to make up ground on the 8-seeded Atlanta Hawks, currently 4.5 games ahead of them for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks have matched the Knicks’ recent six-game win streak with a five-game win streak of their own.
Wednesday’s pivotal showdown with the Eastern Conference elite is the first of many tough contests the Knicks will have to try and get through to somehow make the postseason. The team’s remaining strength of schedule is .500, according to RealGM.com, and includes games against playoff-bound squads like the Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, Washington Wizards, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls, and both the Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors twice.
Can the Knicks step up to the challenge? We’ll see. But it certainly begins tonight.