Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Knicks Playing in a Big Game of Their Own

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Knicks Playing in a Big Game of Their Own

Article excerpt

It is the biggest day in American sports, Super Bowl Sunday. And for the Knicks, they are playing what may be their version of the Super Bowl.

This could be as close as the Knicks come to a defining moment, their biggest game coming in the form of a nondescript February meeting with the equally mediocre Denver Nuggets.

Before they can enjoy the big football game or stomach the food that accompanies it, the Knicks will take the court at Madison Square Garden searching for a way out of their free fall.

With eight losses in nine games, their hopes of grabbing a playoff berth are rapidly disappearing as they try to tread water through the All-Star break.

After Friday's loss to Memphis the Knicks sit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, 4 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot.

While the troubles may panic the fan base, coach Derek Fisher curiously has maintained that the focus is not on the wins and losses, but on "the process."

Speaking on ESPN radio last month Fisher refused to be disappointed if the Knicks miss the playoffs, saying, "We're a developing team with a ton of new players. There are not a lot of elite teams that are depending on rookies to carry the day.

"So we have to be reasonable about who we are and where we are and accept what is and not get caught up in what we should be and allow other people to define what our success is."

Of course, as Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said, the Knicks are hardly a youthful squad with grizzled veterans surrounding Kristaps Porzingis, the lone rookie being relied on.

And the Knicks have no reward if they miss the postseason, having traded their first-round draft pick to Toronto, the last reminder of the Andrea Bargnani deal.

With Carmelo Anthony nursing a sore left knee and listed as questionable for this afternoon's game, there are no certainties for the Knicks, who are 0-7 without him. …

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