Give the New York Knicks credit.
Sure, the Knicks blew a 21-point first-half lead. They also teetered on the brink of defeat late, when any of four Chicago free throws could have salted away the game for the Bulls. But facing a tie for the eighth spot in the Easter Conference standing, with only a sliver of a chance to eke out a victory, the Knicks made some incredible shots and slithered their way to a win.
Carmelo Anthony’s 43-point gem on Easter in the Garden will be talked about for a long time.
As a result, the Bucks fell a full game behind New York in the standings — but hours later, they also pulled within a game of a plummeting Philadelphia squad.
With a loss to Boston, the 76ers fell into a tie with New York in the standings. Philadelphia, after looking like a title contender in the season’s first month, have fizzled back to reality. In their last 26 games, they have 9 wins and 17 losses.
Here are the remaining ten games for the 76ers:
Tue Apr 10, 2012 @ New Jersey Nets
Wed Apr 11, 2012 @ Toronto Raptors
Fri Apr 13, 2012 v. New Jersey Nets
Mon Apr 16, 2012 @ Orlando Magic
Tue Apr 17, 2012 v. Indiana Pacers
Wed Apr 18, 2012 @ Cleveland Cavaliers
Sat Apr 21, 2012 @ Indiana Pacers
Mon Apr 23, 2012 @ New Jersey Nets
Wed Apr 25, 2012 @ Milwaukee Bucks
Thu Apr 26, 2012 @ Detroit Pistons
While that slate is not a Murderer’s Row of NBA teams (three games in 14 days against the Nets ?!?), note that Philadelphia has 8 of its 10 remaining games on the road — including five in a row (and four in six days) to close out the season.
April 25 also looms large — on the second-to-last day of the season, the Bucks and 76ers will play in the Bradley Center. In addition to being one last mano y mano tilt for a playoff spot, it will also determine the season tiebreaker. If the teams end up deadlocked at season’s end, head-to-head win-loss record breaks the tie.
Milwaukee and Philadelphia have split a pair of games this season to date. The next one could decide the season’s fate for both teams.