There are plenty of rational explanations for Thursday night's 121-107 loss to the Mavericks.
The Knicks were playing their fourth game in five nights with three of them on the road, a sure recipe for a tired team if we've ever heard one. That recipe becomes even tastier when you expand it to include seven games in 10 days and the continuing absence of Chauncey Billups.
There's also the presence of the Mavericks on the other side of the court. They had 46 wins entering Thursday night's game and are the kind of team that's tough to beat under optimal circumstances. These weren't them. The Knicks were tired and the Mavericks were inspired by a tongue lashing after a bad loss to the Hornets on Wednesday night.
And then there's the special "Nueva York" uniforms worn as part of the NBA's "Noche Latino" promotion. We've got no complaint about crossing borders, but with all the change of the last few weeks it seems possible that the new unis caused a little identity crisis.
It was reasonable, then, but that hardly means it was easy to watch the Knicks get run off the court.
The Mavs shot the ball well, used their size to great advantage on the boards and benefited from a poor shooting night by Carmelo Anthony. They also got a big performance from Corey Brewer, who was briefly a Knick after the 'Melo trade but never got a chance to play before being bought out.
He had seven points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals in an athletic effort that would look awfully good coming off of the Knicks bench. There's a reason Brewer, a one-time lottery pick, was deemed expendable in Minnesota, but it remains hard to understand why he was booted out of New York without even a cursory look.
The blowout and Brewer would be bad enough, but the night's real shame was the 16th technical foul of the season on Amar'e Stoudemire. He got whistled for a brief altercation with Brendan Haywood that seemed even more innocuous when the two players joked with referee Bennett Salvatore a short time later. Perhaps that means it will get rescinded before Sunday night (the third time that's happened, which would indicate a problem with the system anywhere other than David Stern's NBA), but there will be at least one Amar'e-less game coming soon.
Rational or not, that's a lot of bad for one night.