Even though the Knicks have redefined awful sixty different ways, there have still been some big nights at Madison Square Garden in recent years.
Every visit from the leading lights of the league generated some buzz under the old rafters. Celebrities packed the house to watch Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and others turned the Garden floor into a playground. Heck, the Knicks even got people excited now and again before cruelly crushing everyone's hopes and dreams one more time.
None of those nights will come close to Wednesday night, however. The Celtics are in town for the kind of big game we haven't seen in this town since Barack Obama was a junior member of the Ilinois Senate.
How big? Darren Rovell of CNBC pegs Wednesday night's game as the most relevant Knicks game in the last 2,425 days, or since the Knicks lost to the Nets in the first round after the 2003-2004 season. Frankly, he's wildly conservative in his estimate.
We'd say it's the most relevant Knicks game since they lost to the Raptors in a first round elimination game on May 4, 2001. How could a December game be more relevant than a playoff game?
This is the first time since that loss to the Raptors that the Knicks have been the reason to watch a game rather than simply being cannon fodder for an opponent operating in the loftier reaches of the NBA.
They have the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference, four of their next seven games are going to be played on national television and their eight-game win streak has them being mentioned alongside the elite teams in the league.
The Knicks aren't ready to call themselves rivals to the Celtics or the Heat, who will be here on Friday night to make sure the next wait between relevant games isn't quite as long. They are ready to call themselves part of the larger conversation in the NBA, however, and that ain't bad for 25 games into the season that's supposed to change everything.