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By the end there wasn't much left for Mike D'Antoni to do but assume the position.
Arms crossed, head down and a occasional shake as if he's trying to turn his brain into an Etch a Sketch that could create a blank slate on demand. It isn't, of course, and he'll have to live with the memories of the 97-87 loss to the Spurs that guaranteed the Knicks a ninth straight losing season.
That's a club record, but not one that's going to lead to a banner in the rafters or commemorative mug nights 10 years into the future. It's probably fitting that this season of waiting for the offseason to begin would end with the Knicks setting a new record for futility, from a dramatic standpoint it sets things up well for next year's fabulous return to glory.
It's also probably fitting that the fateful loss would have involved two absurdities that underscore just how ridiculous things have gotten around this basketball team.
The first is that, once again, Eddy Curry couldn't find his way off the bench. Nothing too new there, of course, but it's wonderfully depressing that five years into his tenure with the Knicks Curry is still able to generate anticipation about his return to the court. The excuse this time had something to do with his calf or his knee or his spleen or rain in the Cascade Mountains. Donnie Walsh actually accompanied the team on the road trip to check out Curry's return to action which just goes to show that he's an optimistic ellow.
The other absurdity had to do with the player Mike Breen and Walt Frazier chose as the Knicks' player of the game at the close of the MSG telecast. Toney Douglas took the prize, not because of his two points, three rebounds of two assists but because, per Breen, he set the tone defensively. In a 10-point loss to a mediocre team that the Knicks let get away from them late because they couldn't make defensive stops, their best player was a guy who was credited for setting a strong defensive tone.
Sounds about right. Tune in tomorrow when Danilo Gallinari gets carried off on his teammates' shoulders for missing all five of his three-point attempts.