The Knicks can only hope that Indiana will be such pushovers in the second round.
Getting the second seed in the East turned out to be the easiest thing the Knicks have done in weeks, when they outclassed the error-prone, poor-shooting Pacers Sunday at the Garden, 90-80.
To the victor go the spoils and in this case it means Carmelo Anthony gets to take off Monday’s game in Charlotte. He can also rest against Atlanta in the season finale Wednesday at the Garden, if he wants, and then he’ll be ready to go for the Celtics and whatever Doc Rivers has in store for him.
“We’re looking forward to that matchup,” Anthony said after scoring 25 points. “We know the kind of series that will be: It will be a grind-out, tough series, a physical series.”
These Celtics aren’t the 2008 Celtics who won the title in the first year of their Big Three, and they’re a shadow of the team that last spring was the only one in the playoffs to beat Miami three times in a series. The Knicks will get them without Rajon Rondo. Without Ray Allen.
So the Knicks should be in good shape to win their first playoff series since 2000 — provided Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin are healthy and ready to impose their will at the defensive end.
The Knicks will start the postseason just like everybody else in the Eastern half of the NBA playoff bracket — a distant second to Miami.