A lasting lesson of the Jets' run to the AFC Championship Game is that we should be very careful before declaring a team out of playoff chances until they are actually totally out of playoff chances.
So we won't say that there's absolutely no way that the Knicks make the playoffs this season. We'll just say that if they make the playoffs there's going to be a lot of heart attack victims flooding New York City emergency rooms because of the shock.
The Knicks got run out of the Twin Cities by the Timberwolves on Sunday night which is embarrassing enough on its face. Only the Nets have won fewer games than the Wolves and the Knicks thumped Jersey 132-105 at the Garden last Tuesday.
The Knicks also led Sunday night's game 22-9 early in the first quarter before putting a halt to their efforts. Finally, the loss made it a two-loss weekend after Saturday night's dismal performance against a Wizards team that is only slightly better than the T-Wolves.
That means they closed January with a 6-9 record, a record that looks a lot worse when you recall that they opened the month with three straight wins. There aren't any buttons left for Mike D'Antoni to push, unless you think re-inserting Larry Hughes into the lineup has some kind of Ponce de Leon-style restorative powers.
They're talking about trades, perhaps for Tracy McGrady, but it's a serious longshot to believe that McGrady or any other player without a long-term contract is going to come in and make for a different outcome at this point.
A new point guard would be nice. It won't help the team make the playoffs, but there's some public good to seeing less of Chris Duhon. Some new blood couldn't hurt at this point, if only to limit the wear and tear on the short rotation D'Antoni's using. Unless you find a way to dump Jared Jeffries or Eddy Curry, it's all going to amount to window dressing and limiting the amount of chances the Jazz have to wind up with John Wall, though.
Things looked different when the season began, but this is just another chapter in the same book the Knicks have been writing for years. We know how the rest of the story goes and continue hoping that this summer brings the chapter we've been promised for so long.