Three Knicks’ keys for earning at least the No. 6 seed and avoiding the play-in round:
Robinson is a difference-maker. The 7-footer transforms the Knicks defensively and is one of the league’s premier offensive rebounders. The problem is he has missed 22 of 60 games this year, a career-long issue for the center. If he can stay on the floor the rest of the way, coach Tom Thibodeau’s team becomes much more dangerous.
Get RJ Barrett going
The streaky fourth-year wing has had an uneven season full of stops and starts, shooting just 32.3 percent from 3-point range. He excelled at the end of November and for most of December before missing two weeks with a lacerated right index finger at the turn of the new year and hasn’t regained his form. At his best, though, Barrett is a strong third option behind Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson, and makes the Knicks much tougher to defend.
The Knicks’ 16-15 mark at MSG is the worst home record of any team in the league with a winning record. Their fantastic 17-12 record on the road has made up for that. But with a difficult schedule the rest of the way highlighted by a four-game West Coast trip in early March, they’re going to need to find a way to win at the Garden more frequently in their remaining 11 contests there. They have won three in a row and four of five there.