If you're running out of reasons to tune in and watch the Knicks this season, may we offer you this snapshot from Tuesday night's game? Christoph Waltz was at courtside enjoying the action, which is notable only because it was Jewish Heritage night at the Garden. As far as we know, Waltz has absolutely nothing in common with "the Jew Hunter" Hans Landa in "Inglorious Basterds," but he was so damn good in that movie that it made for a surreal little connection of fiction and reality.
Otherwise, it was your typical night of tsuris at the Garden. The Knicks led by 15 in the fourth quarter, blew the lead and drew up a play for Chris Duhon to take a 24-footer at the end of regulation to win the game. If you thought Duhon did anything other than loft up an airball, you're new to the Knicks. Noted offensive genius Mike D'Antoni then called a play in the final seconds of overtime that called for a Jared Jeffries three-pointer with more than half the shot clock remaining.
We'll spare you the gory details of how that turned out, but the Kings wound up winning the game 118-114. The crowd didn't much mind as a goodly number of them were there to watch Sacramento rookie Omri Casspi, the first Israeli in the NBA, make his New York debut. The Knicks, clearly better at marketing than at basketball, ran a sales offer that got you tickets, a Hebrew Knicks t-shirt and a meeting with Casspi. Judging by the number of Israeli flags, it's worth inviting the Kings back a couple more times.
Despite Landa's presence, Casspi played well and scored 18 points. That was nothing compared to fellow rookie Tyreke Evans, though. Evans, the presumptive rookie of the year, dominated down the stretch as the Knicks refused to do anything to keep him from taking the ball to the hoop and finishing strong. He looked exactly like the kind of player the Knicks will be (fruitlessly?) trying to clear cap space to sign in four or five years.
That's a sad reminder of just how futile the rebuilding process has been around the Knicks. One player like Evans over the last 10 years of drafts would make things so different. Even when they appear to hit on a player, as they have with Danilo Gallinari, it's a complementary player and not a star. And Gallinari missed the fourth quarter last night with weakness in his forearm. Either he's working far too hard on his hairdo or, thinking back to last year's back injury, Gallo is a guy who is always going to have some nagging injury. Hopefully it's the former, because that's much less likely to keep the team in the gutter.
Thanks to the All-Star Game, the Knicks don't play again until next week. Unless they can somehow figure out how to get George Custer to come out for Native American Heritage night, there may not be anyone paying attention when they do.