After the NBA suspended Kevin Garnett for tonight's game against the Knicks, a notion emerged that this news was bad for Mike D'Antoni's club. The Celtics, defending champs and scourge of the East, would provide a chance for the Knicks to measure how far they'd come since last season. Now that Garnett's out of the lineup, though, it will just be a game and a missed opportunity.
That's a far-fetched notion if there ever was one. Last year's 104-59 rout by the Celtics began the long death march for Isiah Thomas's Knicks tenure but was anyone really doubting that this year's Knick team is better than that one? Probably not, nor were many people thinking that the Knicks had made up any serious ground on Boston in 10 games under D'Antoni. So why worry about where they measure up right now?
The only measurement that matters for the Knicks right now is wins and losses. No KG, he was suspended for tussling with Andrew Bogut of Milwaukee, means a much better chance at picking up a victory, a victory that counts just as much in the final standings as it would if Garnett were in the lineup. If the Knicks happen to be two and a half games back of the Celtics when they meet for the last time in February, then we'll be able to make some determination about how far the team has come.
The Knicks are beating the teams that they should be beating, which, even if those teams stink, is a better judge of where they are than whatever happens in Boston. If they keep doing that, the playoffs are a real possibility and getting any win to help them toward that task should be the only focus. Moral victories count the same as humiliating losses in the standings, after all.