Thursday, April 26, 2012


(AP) — There’s one day left in the NBA’s truncated regular season, and only two of the eight first-round postseason matchups opening this weekend have all the particulars decided.

Indiana has home-court over Orlando, and San Antonio has it against Utah.

Just about everything else related to the playoff bracket — plus the scoring race and Charlotte’s quest to avoid becoming the NBA’s worst team ever — gets decided over the course of 13 games Thursday night.

The biggest question for Knicks fans: do you want your team to face the Chicago Bulls or Miami Heat?

Chicago is the No. 1 seed, Miami is No. 2, and those teams will face either New York or Philadelphia in the first round.

For the Knicks, a win over Charlotte would lock up a first-round meeting with the Heat, one that would surely rekindle memories of New York’s upset of Miami during the 1999 playoffs, the last season shortened by labor strife.

“In my mind, we’re playing the Knicks,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said Wednesday. “That’s the mindset I have.”

The Knicks left for Charlotte on Wednesday night after beating the Los Angeles Clippers at home, with players told to pack for a few days on the road. Not only is the opponent unknown, so is the first-round schedule, meaning the Knicks could find themselves facing a Game 1 in Chicago or Miami as early as Saturday afternoon.

“Chicago has had the best record in the league the last two years, so why does everybody jump ahead and say, ‘Oh, you should dodge Miami and play Chicago?” Knicks center Tyson Chandler said. “I think both of those teams are 1 and 2, so you can pick your poison on them. I feel like we have to believe in ourselves enough that it doesn’t matter who we play.”

If the Knicks lose in Charlotte, that opens the door for Philadelphia to grab the No. 7 seed and a date with Miami. A Knicks loss and 76ers win in Detroit means Philadelphia would meet Miami for the second straight year in the first round.

“Right now it really doesn’t matter,” said Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony. “Whoever we play, we’ll have to start on the road anyway, so we just want to start just preparing for whether it’s Chicago, whether it’s Miami, just get ready to go.”

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