If You Lose By 50 and No One Watches, It Still Counts

128-78 loss to the Mavericks is worst in MSG history

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Contrary to popular belief, the Knicks did have one thing going for them on Sunday. Timing.

    If you're going to set a new record for home futility by losing to the Mavericks by 50 points, better to do it on a day when everyone was paying attention to the Jets. Fifty points! That's not easy to do. One is almost impressed by the perfect mix of apathy, incompetence and third-rate talent that it takes to make something like that happen. Almost impressed, but mostly nauseous.  

    Fortunately for the Knicks, playoff-sized distractions keep people from noticing games as bad as Sunday's and they got a doozy of one in Indianapolis. Unfortunately for the Knicks, they're on their own from here on out. It doesn't look like they'll be creating any distractions for the Mets, either.

    Their playoff odds have plummeted to 8.8 percent and they're steadily losing ground in the race for the final playoff spot. Six losses in the last eight games means they have fallen to 16-17 since the 1-9 start to the season, which makes it pretty difficult to keep arguing that they are making strides. The most damning thing about Sunday's game, in fact, was how little effort the Knicks produced, something that hasn't been a problem since that dreadful start to the season.

    Right now, it's just as easy to see the team falling off the cliff the way they did last year and falling short of the modest 32 wins they produced in Mike D'Antoni's first season. That would be neither here nor there in the larger scheme of things, unless Utah winds up with the first or second pick in the draft and the Knicks strike out in their most grandiose notions about the free agent season. 

    The four remaining games in January -- home for Minnesota and Toronto and at Washington and Minnesota -- are all winnable. Anything less than three of four will all but put the Knicks out of the playoff hunt. Thanks to the Jets, everyone will be watching to see what happens. Hopefully that's a good thing.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.