The New York Knicks have a lot of work to do before they are considered contenders, but their players are putting the team on a mission.
The Knicks have the third-best win total in the NBA and are coming off a win against the Minnesota Timberwolves in which they outscored the opponent by nearly 20 points.
The win gave the Knicks their second consecutive victory over a top-five team and gave coach Derek Fisher the win with a 3-0 lead.
Fisher’s team is shooting better than 35 percent from the field, including a league-leading 56.9 percent from 3-point range.
The New Jersey Nets, who lost to the Timberwolves on Wednesday night, have scored 107.8 points per game and allowed the most points per 100 possessions on the season.
The Nets are second in the Eastern Conference with 104.3 points per contest.
They’re currently playing in the playoffs for the third time in the last four years.
New York has scored 102.6 points per 48 minutes this season, a career high.
The Brooklyn Nets are coming into their fourth straight postseason game against the Washington Wizards and have won four straight games.
The Wizards have won their past two matchups against the Nets, including last year’s game, which was a win for the Nets.
They have scored 89.5 points per 40 minutes in the series, including 87.0 in overtime.
The Celtics are also playing in their fourth postseason game and have scored 95.9 points per 45 minutes, good for second place in the East.
Boston’s offense has been good in the first two games of the series against New York, scoring 96.5 per game in the three losses and 98.0 per game last season.
But the Celtics are averaging 105.0 points in the past four games against the Knicks, and they’ve shot just 39.3 percent from beyond the arc.
The NBA is down to eight teams remaining, including the Chicago Bulls and the Charlotte Hornets.
The Chicago Bulls have the best record in the league with a 19-9 record.
The Hornets have a 19.3-game winning streak and have only lost one game in eight road games.
Chicago is playing in its second consecutive postseason game.
The Bulls are currently second in a wild-card race with the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Clippers are tied for second in an NBA playoff race with Atlanta.
Chicago has scored 106.1 points per 60 minutes, while the Clippers have averaged 105.2.
Both teams are playing in back-to-backs for the first time since February 12-15, 2002, when the Celtics beat the Clippers in seven games in the second round of the playoffs.
The teams are coming up against each other again on Thursday night.
The Cavaliers are the first team to win three straight games since the Oklahoma City Thunder did it in 1996-97.
The Thunder are 2-2 in their last four road games and are 1-4 on the road this season.
They are averaging 89.2 points per win and have been outscattered by a combined 16.7 points per possession.
The Charlotte Hornets are coming back from a disappointing loss to the Los Angels Lakers in the third game of the conference finals last week.
The team is 1-5 against the Los Angeles Lakers, including 2-1 in the regular season.
However, the Hornets are 4-2 on the back-and-forth since losing to the Lakers.
Charlotte has been outscoring the Lakers by 20.4 points per cent during that stretch.
The Lakers are coming in with a 13-4 record and won five straight home games.
Charlotte also has won three straight away games, including an 83-67 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday.
Charlotte leads the NBA in scoring at 105.3 per game.
They’ve scored 97.3 in the previous two games, but have scored just 89.4 per game on the second night of a back-of-the-pack series.
Charlotte is 0-2 against the Cleveland Cavaliers and 3-2 vs. the Miami Heat.
The Heat have won the last two meetings between the teams, but are 0-4 against the Cavaliers.
They will have a better chance of winning Thursday night’s game when the teams face off in Cleveland on Friday night.