It's always nice to let someone else do the work for you.

 

The Knicks clinched their second straight playoff appearance Thursday night and they didn't even have to step on the floor to do so. The Bucks, currently in the No. 9 spot in the East, lost to the Pacers 118-109, meaning even if they win their final four games and the Knicks (33-29) lose their remaining four the Knicks will make the playoffs. New York holds that tiebreaker thanks to a 2-2 season series tie and a better record against Eastern Conference playoff teams (the third tiebreaker).

 

The Bucks (29-33) have now lost three straight games at the most inopportune of times.

 

Milwaukee and New York met in a critical game on April 11 in the Bucks' home arena. The Knicks came out with a 111-107 win behind 32 points from Carmelo Anthony and clutch shooting from J.R. Smith. The Bucks are 1-3 since. They do still have a small chance of making the playoffs, but they'll need a lot of help from the Sixers.

 

The Knicks currently have a one-game lead on those Sixers for the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia has four games left all on the road. They start at Indiana Friday night and then at New Jersey, at Milwaukee and at Detroit to finish out the schedule.

 

The Knicks play at Cleveland Friday, at Atlanta, vs. the Los Angeles Clippers and at Charlotte. They are three games back of Orlando, who just lost Dwight Howard for the season, in the No. 6 spot.

The Bulls currently hold a lead on the No. 1 seed over the Heat, but the two played Thursday night and Miami won 83-72, trimming Chicago's lead to just 1.5 games.



Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.