The Knicks (32-49) were in the playoff race last month, but collapsed in the final weeks, going 3-15 since coach and team president Isiah Thomas received a multiyear contract extension.
New York was eliminated from the playoffs following a 100-86 loss to New Jersey last Friday. The Knicks will miss the postseason for the third straight year and finish with a losing record for the sixth consecutive season.
“I really don’t like losing,” Thomas said. “Even though they give everything, you are still not satisfied.”
Injuries have been a major factor in the Knicks’ struggles. Jamal Crawford (ankle surgery), Quentin Richardson (back surgery) and David Lee (right leg pain) have been limited the last two months, while Stephon Marbury has been sidelined with a sprained right toe the last two weeks.
Crawford played the final 31 seconds of the third quarter in Monday’s 104-95 loss to the Nets, the team’s season-high fifth straight defeat. It was his first appearance since Feb. 26.
Eddy Curry, who is averaging career highs of 19.4 points and 7.0 rebounds, did not play in the second half Monday because of a strained hamstring. He plans to play Wednesday, however.
“I am going to treat it like a regular game,” Curry said. “I am going to play as if we were playing for something. If it is not hurting, I am going to play.”
The Bobcats (33-48) have dealt with similar injury problems. Sean May has been sidelined with a bruised knee since mid-March while Gerald Wallace (soreness in knees), Adam Morrison (sprained left knee), Jake Voskuhl (sore left knee) and Matt Carroll (lower back spasms) have missed the last few games.
Wallace is averaging a team-high 18.2 points and Morrison is first among NBA rookies with 11.9 points per game. Wallace is probable for Wednesday while Morrison is questionable, Carroll is doubtful and Voskuhl is out, according to the team’s official Web site.
Charlotte, which posted just 26 victories in its second season in the NBA in 2005-06, has won nine of its last 14 games, including a 113-92 victory at Milwaukee on Saturday.
Wednesday’s game will be Bernie Bickerstaff’s last as Bobcats coach. Charlotte announced March 13 that this would be Bickerstaff’s last season on the sidelines, but he would be invited to stay with the organization.
“I’ve had some time to prepare myself. I’m fine,” Bickerstaff said. “I know where to go and what I need to do. Life’s about being OK with yourself.”
Bickerstaff, 77-168 in three seasons with the Bobcats, has coached Charlotte to four victories in five games at home over New York. The Bobcats have won two of three overall meetings this season.