Looking to creep closer to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the New York Knicks are preparing for another must-win game as the regular season nears completion. Making final preparations before a Tuesday night showdown against the Los Angeles Lakers, New York (29-41) will look to rebound from a tough loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Letting a 17-point lead slip away, the Knicks blew a golden opportunity to stretch their win streak to nine games before beginning a five-game Western Conference road trip, outings that will undoubtedly shape the direction of their late-season push. Sitting 2 ½ games behind the Atlanta Hawks for the final postseason slot, the Knicks need wins in bunches with only 12 games remaining.

Following the meeting at the Staples Center against the struggling Lakers (23-46), New York will pay visits to Sacramento (25-45), Phoenix (42-29), Golden State (44-27) and Utah (23-48) before returning to Madison Square Garden for an Eastern Conference clash with the Brooklyn Nets (37-32). Hoping to start another string of strong play, Knicks star Carmelo Anthony said following the loss to Cleveland that his squad needs to put recent struggles in the past if they’re to make the playoffs. “It's tough,” he said. “We should've won this game. We gave it away. They earned it, they beat us. We didn't play well coming down the stretch or in the second half and they did. But it's behind us now, there's nothing we can do about that.”

While New York’s struggles have been well-documented, head coach Mike Woodson remains optimistic about his team’s chances of making the playoffs after winning eight of their last nine. The recent addition of Phil Jackson as President of Basketball Operations hasn’t deterred the Knicks leader either, even with reports circulating that he will be relieved of his duties at season’s end in order for Jackson to implement the Triangle Offense through former disciples such as Steve Kerr or Tyrann Lue.

“I don't think I need to prove anything as a coach,” Woodson said recently. “I've never felt that way. I try to do my job the best I can do, and if you're gonna judge me on 16 games, then that's on you. When someone new comes in he has his own thought process and philosophy in terms of how he feels and how the shape of the team should be. And until he gets here you just have no idea what he's thinking and which direction he wants to go. It's basketball. Teams, they try to reshape, they go through changes, and this is no different. You bring in a great basketball mind into your organization and eventually it'll be reshaped. So how and who and when, only time will tell.”

New York Knicks vs. Los Angeles Lakers: DATE, TIME & VIEWING INFO

DATE: Tuesday, March 25

TIME: 10:30 p.m., ET