(125515)

Watching the Knicks these days may be challenging to those who are measuring them solely on wins and losses. And they only had 12 in 59 games after getting mashed by the Sacramento Kings by 124-86 on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden. At this point, the only expectation of the fans should be the coaching staff and players giving maximum effort on a nightly basis. The cold reality is head coach Derek Fisher is operating with a team comprised of journeyman and youngsters who collectively are slightly above D-League caliber.

The Knicks lugged the NBA’s worst record (12-47) into Indianapolis last night to face the Pacers and the two teams will return to the Garden for a rematch on Saturday. They will then begin a seven-day, five-game western swing on Monday against the Denver Nuggets that will further enhance the probability of the franchise winning the NBA draft lottery and receiving the No.1 overall pick.

There’s simply nothing they can do to overcome a glaring deficit in basketball ability. So for the remainder of the season, six weeks and counting, the overriding theme will be the Knicks finishing the schedule with self-respect.

“Like I talked about before the game,” said Fisher following the beat down by the Kings, “we have some guys that have no idea what this is like to be expected to perform at a certain level every night. And they have to in order for the team to have a chance a win.

“There’s a certain level of pride,” Fisher emphasized, “that you have to do your job with that still must show… In adversity, that’s when you find out who you really are.”

That goes for both the players and Fisher. Time will tell if he can transform this lump of coal into a future diamond.