Pay no heed to the final score, those of you who fell asleep early Monday night: The Knicks’ loss to the Clippers out in Los Angeles wasn’t particularly close. When the Clippers’ Big 3 of Chris Paul (+16), Blake Griffin (+19) and DeAndre Jordan (+15) were on the court, it was truly a case of men against boys.
The Knicks are probably in line for quite a few more of these beatings to close out the season. Not only do they have the most difficult remaining schedule of any Eastern Conference team, it’s not even particularly close. Take a look at John Schuhmann’s list, which measures each team’s opponent by net rating:
East remaining schedule update: pic.twitter.com/FtR7pqfMQ7— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) March 20, 2017
This was made before the Clippers game, but that does little to change the sheer carnage. Knicks opponents are +1.5 points per 100 possessions over the course of the season — only the Lakers, Spurs and Mavericks have a tougher schedule by this metric.
And that isn’t skewed by a couple of dominant opponents either — it’s a fairly even distribution of superior squads. Peep the schedule, courtesy of Google:
The only sub-.500 teams the Knicks will play from here on out are the Trail Blazers (8-2 in their last 10), Pistons (current No. 8 seed in the East) Heat (one of the NBA’s hottest teams over the last few months), Heat again, Bulls and 76ers.
New York’s front office, coaches and players may not want to tank, but fortunately for us they don’t really have much of a choice.
Here’s to the light at the end of the tunnel.
Only 1.5 games now separate the Magic (4th worst record) and Knicks (7th worst record)— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) March 21, 2017
This will come down to the season's final few games