Despite holding a 19-28 record, the center believed the Knicks still had a chance to end up with the third seed of the Eastern Conference, which is currently held by the Atlanta Hawks (25-21). Here is Chandler’s quote from Ian Begley of ESPN NY:
Obviously, we didn’t come in expecting to put ourselves in this situation. But … I feel like it’s still wide open,” Tyson Chandler said. “I looked at the standings today and I feel like we’ve got a real opportunity to kind of shoot up to that third spot or so and try to get ourselves in the mix.”
It’s good to be optimistic even if the odds are stacked against you. To be fair, the Knicks have played much better since Andrea Bargnani went down with an elbow injury and Carmelo Anthony resumed the team’s power forward position like he did for much of last season. They had ripped four straight convincing wins before losing to the Miami Heat on Saturday – acceptable, given the magnitude of the competition.
What happened on Monday, though, was less than acceptable. Inexplicably, the Knicks lost 101-98 to the Bucks – the worst team in the NBA – on the road. If they want to gain any kind of traction for playoff positioning, these are the opportunistic games they can’t afford to throw away. At this point, Chandler should concern himself with getting his team into the eighth seed, currently held by the Charlotte Bobcats who are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Knicks, before thinking about catching up to a team that is a whopping seven games ahead of them in the conference.
Metta World Peace, a spectator on the bench for much of the season, had this to say following the loss:
one loss. no biggie. on to the next win
— Metta World Peace (@MettaWorldPeace) February 4, 2014
It’s no biggie if you’re simply trying to make it to the playoffs in one of the weakest conferences in recent history. If you’re trying to overcome a seven-game deficit to gain homecourt advantage in the playoffs, losing to these Bucks is a pretty big deal. Mike Woodson should probably make sure that everyone on his team is aware of this. You would think that players on a professional basketball team would understand these things, but we’ve seen some of the players in that locker room understand less.
James Park is the chief blogger of Sheridan Hoops. You can find him on twitter @SheridanBlog.