Finally, the Knicks are looking down at the Atlanta Hawks — sort of.

Granted, their heady perch is .0018 percentage points above the Hawks and they are more or less tied. But after chasing and falling down and getting back up and chasing again, the Knicks can say they are in the eighth playoff spot in the East.

Thanks to their 110-81 manhandling of the Nets at the Garden Wednesday, the Knicks moved inches ahead while the Hawks were losing at home to the Bulls.

“It means a lot,” Carmelo Anthony said after the Knicks (33-43) routed their cross-river rival Nets (40-34). “We’re in a dogfight coming down towards the end of the season and this stretch is important.”
The Knicks still trail the Hawks by one game in the loss column with six more games remaining — all against playoff teams — and Atlanta holds the tiebreaker based on conference record.

“It’s all on us at this point. This year’s a lot different than the past couple of years,” Anthony said. “But coming down to April, it’s just, we know what we want.”

The April schedule, featuring seven games against five teams all headed to the playoffs, has worried the Knick faithful for weeks. And after the first of the seven games, there was one question:

What the heck was all the fuss and worry about?

The Knicks, who played Tim Hardaway (17 points) despite a sore ankle, did it in every way. They shot 60 percent from the field. They came away with 11 steals, five by Iman Shumpert, who came off the bench and keyed a decisive first-quarter stretch that transformed a 20-19 deficit into a 29-20 lead. Then with a landslide 34-18 second quarter — and a technical foul shot to start the third quarter — the Knicks outscored the Nets, 45-18.