TORONTO, March 22 (Xinhua) -- The New York Knicks defeated the Toronto Raptors 99-94 to clinch a berth in the playoffs in NBA action on Friday night.
The post-season appearance will be the third straight for the Knicks and 42nd appearance in franchise history.
Despite the victory, Knicks head coach Mike Woodson expects his team to give their full effort to finish off the season.
"Again, we just have to take it one game at a time," said Woodson during the post-game press conference. "Every game is a must for our ballclub now."
Woodson needs the team to finish strong for the team to secure home court advantage and a better matchup in the first round of the playoffs.
"We can't have any slippage, not matter who we play because Brooklyn is not going anywhere and Boston is not going anywhere. They're playing for something as well. We might as well continue our winning ways and try and stay on top and take each game like it' s our last game."
The Knicks currently sit atop the Atlantic division and sit in third place overall in the Eastern Conference, 1.5 games ahead of the Brooklyn Nets and 5 games ahead of the Boston Celtics.
With 15 games remaining, the 41-26 Knicks control their destiny and will lock up home court advantage with a top four finish in the Eastern Conference.
Home court advantage will be crucial for the Knicks, as their past two playoff appearances have been without it, resulting in tough first round matches against the Celtics in 2011 and Heat in 2012. The Knicks lost both series 4-1 and 4-0 respectively.
Of New York's 41 previous playoff appearances in franchise history, the team has reached the finals 10 times, winning in 1970 and 1973.
The current Knicks team will look to turn appearance number 42 into their third championship.