The Knicks and Carmelo Anthony can finally rest easy.
With a 90-80 win over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday, the Knicks clinched the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and earned a much-needed rest for its ailing superstar. Anthony injured his left shoulder in the contest, but still managed to continue his torrid streak by scoring 25 points against a tough Indiana defense.
With now nothing left to play for, Carmelo Anthony said he expects to rest on Monday against the Charlotte Bobcats.
“I always said today was a real important game for us to come in and lock down (the No. 2 seed),” Anthony said. “It was a big game for us so now guys can get their rest, I can get my rest and come back full speed ready for the playoffs.”
Anthony had seven-game streak of scoring 30 points or more, and though it came to an end on Sunday his 25 points helped the Knicks to the clinching victory.
With no chance to catch the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference standings, the Knicks are at least assured home court advantage for the first two rounds. It will be the team’s highest seed since 1994,when they were also a No. 2 seed.
“It’s a good feeling to be in this position, to have home-court advantage for two rounds if we’re lucky enough to make it that far,” said Raymond Felton. “And just setting goals early in the year and accomplishing them is really big. We’re definitely happy now, not satisfied, though.”
The team could have a first-round challenge in Boston, the current No. 7 team that fields a roster deep with playoff experience.
“They’re a very good team,” said Knicks guard Steve Novak. “I think Knicks and the Celtics is kind of storied, been a rivalry for quite a while. So we understand that it’s a big series and we have to go through everybody to get where we want to go.”
The Knicks will look to keep momentum heading into the playoffs. The team has won 15 of its last 16 games, and has two remaining contests with Charlotte on Monday and Atlanta on Wednesday.
[Image via Creative Commons]