The Knicks are seen as Eastern Conference Finals contenders

One reason the Knicks are hot again is Jalen Brunson, a first-time All-Star this season who took them to the second round of the playoffs last year.

According to “Inside the NBA” on TNT analyst Kenny Smith, Brunson is a top 5 MVP candidate this season, which is why he believes the Knicks will reach the Eastern Conference Finals against the current league’s best team, the Boston Celtics.

“Earlier in the year I made a comment,” Smith said on the “Stephen A. Smith Show” on Feb. 20 . “I said I don’t know if the Knicks could win the Eastern Conference or participate in it because they always walk the court with the second best player on the right. …but Brunson closed the gap.”

Before the season began, ESPN’s Bobby Marks predicted that Brunson’s Knicks and Durant’s Suns would meet in this season’s NBA Finals.