Knicks thrive after OG Anunoby’s return

The New York Knicks are closing in on a playoff berth, as a win Monday night against the Golden State Warriors (10 p.m. ET, MSG/ESPN) will guarantee nothing worse than a spot in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.

But the team obviously has loftier goals in mind, like the fourth seed in the East and the first-round home field advantage that comes with it. Earlier this week, the Knicks (40-27) hold a half-game lead over Orlando for fourth place and are three games back of seventh-place Miami.

The ongoing surge has coincided with the return of OG Anunoby, who returned Tuesday night after missing the previous 18 games with an elbow injury. His return is enough to convince a Bleacher Report end-of-season predictions list that the Knicks will host a first-round set for the first time since 2013.

“The result: New York suddenly seems much more likely to retain its No. 4 seed in the East, a welcome development after Orlando briefly took it a few days ago,” wrote Bleacher Report’s Grant Hugest. “The Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers and perennially terrifying Miami Heat are all within a couple of games of the Knicks in the standings, but (checks notes) none of them have Anunoby on the roster.”

“Basically, they either have OG Anunoby on the field, or they don’t. The former beats the hell out of teams, while the latter fights to survive.”