Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Mitchell, House, Sixers, VanVleet

It’s likely that the Knicks and Cavaliers will meet in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Knicks failed in their pursuit of trading for Donovan Mitchell, a New York native, during last offseason.

Mitchell is looking forward to the prospect of facing the Knicks in the postseason, according to Peter Botte of the New York Post. “It’s full circle. Wouldn’t want it any other way,” Mitchell said. “What kid wouldn’t want to grow up and play against his hometown team in the playoffs? … It’s going to be a lot of fun — if that happens.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Danuel House has given the Sixers a boost since he was reinserted into the rotation in March, Gina Mizell of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. House has maintained a positive outlook and provided locker room leadership, regardless of how much he plays. “It takes a lot of focus. It takes a lot of energy,” said House, who averaged 12.2 minutes last month. “But you’ve got to sacrifice. Sacrifice is the biggest key, so you can set in your mind — or for your life — what’s really important. This is important to me. … All I’ve been trying to do is resume playing, stick [in the rotation] and just help the team.” House holds a $4.31MM player option on his contract for next season.
  • The Sixers played at Milwaukee on Sunday and face Boston on Tuesday. Joel Embiid downplayed the significance of games against the other top teams in the East, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. “It’s a regular season game — that’s the approach I take, you know? You’ll use those matchups to see where you are at,” he said. “But there is no more excitement, in my opinion, because you are playing the two best teams in the league.”
  • Fred VanVleet, a potential free agent after the season, already held the Raptors’ single-game scoring record at 54. He added the single-game assist record against Charlotte on Sunday with 20, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star notes. “That’s a heck of an honor,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “There have been some great guards in the history of the organization. That’s really something, it really is.”
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