The New York Knicks have enjoyed a solid season as the NBA moves toward its home stretch. The Knicks took a 34-22 record into their Saturday night home game against the first-place Boston Celtics, and before the nationally televised game tipped off, analyst Stephen A. Smith proclaimed that the Knicks only had to worry about the Celtics in the Eastern Conference.

Smith, a controversial and outspoken talk-show host, said he has seen enough from the Knicks this season that he believes they should be able to get to the Eastern Conference Finals where they would likely meet the Celtics. Boston brought a 44-12 record into Madison Square Garden along with a 7-game winning streak.

Stephen A. Smith offered one caveat about his prediction. He believes the Knicks must stay healthy if they are going to advance far in the playoffs. “I'm not worried about anybody but the Boston Celtics. If the New York Knicks come back healthy, they're going to the Conference Finals.”

While the Knicks have exceeded expectations to this point in the season, they still trail the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Milwaukee Bucks in addition to the Celtics. They have passed the fifth-place Philadelphia 76ers, who have clearly been weakened by Joel Embiid's meniscus injury.

The Knicks have been led by All-Star Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle to this point in the season. Brunson is averaging a team-high 27.5 points for head coach Tom Thibodeau, and he is shooting 47.9 percent from the field and 84 per cent from the line.

Randle is injured at present (shoulder), but he is averaging a robust 24.0 points and he is also contributing 9.2 rebounds per game.