Surprisingly, the Knicks showed signs of life 3,000 away from home. On Saturday night in Washington, they will conclude an arduous 11-day, six-game road trip versus the Wizards having averted being swept. Five of the games were played against Western Conference opponents, including the franchise’s final meeting against the great Kobe Bryant, who will retire at the end of this season. They will return to the Garden Sunday night to host the Sacramento Kings.
With wins over the Phoenix Suns (128-97) and the Los Angeles Lakers (90-87), the latter coming on a game-winning 3-pointer by much-maligned point guard Jose Calderon with two-tenths of a second remaining, the Knicks demonstrated that they have not given up on their season, one of which has been filled with disappointment, uncertainty and unexpected transition with the firing of former head coach Derek Fisher.
Dragging a record of 28-40 prior to facing the wondrous Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors last night (Wednesday)—who were an amazing 60-6 and on pace to break the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ NBA regular season record of 72 wins—the Knicks were 2-2 on the trip and winners of three of their previous five games.
Well out of the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference, the Knicks were in 13th place out of 15 teams, 6.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Chicago Bulls and staring up at five teams ahead them for the final playoff spot with 13 games remaining, assuring that they will miss the postseason for the third straight season.
The season has devolved to the level that the most intriguing aspect of following the Knicks is speculating what will be their future course of action. The three most prominent topics are their tenuous head coaching position, currently held by Kurt Rambis; an impending pursuit of free agents; and Knicks President Phil Jackson’s cryptic statements regarding fulfilling the final two years of his five-year contract.