The Boston Celtics are the biggest obstacle for the Knicks

The main condition for New York is that they struggled against the Boston Celtics, the top-seeded team in the East. They are 0-4 against Boston this year and have one game left against them at the end of the season in Boston. If the Knicks want to reach the NBA Finals, they will likely have to get past the Celtics at some point in the playoffs, barring any upsets.

However, all four games this season against the Celtics have not featured the new-look Knicks, or a healthy Knicks team. They will likely be back at full strength by the next meeting on April 11, but given that the game will be the third to last of the season, neither team may need to play their starters. Therefore, a true matchup between the two may not occur until the playoffs.

The Knicks on paper are well-built and balanced in nearly every area, with a heavy emphasis placed on defense and three-point shooting. When the playoffs arrive, New York should be a tough matchup for anyone if they return to full strength in time, making Smith’s prediction realistic.