Already in the midst of a frustrating season, the New York Knicks are on the verge of a dubious record.
They’ll be trying to avoid the longest single-season home losing streak in team history on Wednesday when they meet the league-worst Miami Heat.
The Knicks (19-51) have dropped seven in a row at Madison Square Garden, matching the franchise single-season record set Nov. 26-Dec. 17, 1963. New York hasn’t dropped eight in a row at home since an eight-game slump spanning two seasons, from March 28-Nov. 9, 1985.
Overall, the Knicks have dropped five in a row and 12 of 13. They lost 106-91 to the New Jersey Nets at MSG on Monday, failing to complete their first season sweep of their cross-river rivals since they won all three meetings during the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season.
“Our team and their team are completely different from when we beat them earlier in the year,” said Jamal Crawford, who scored a team-high 26 points. “We were still fighting for the playoffs back then. Now, we’re just trying to get minutes for everyone on our bench.”
The Knicks own the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference, ahead of only Miami, whose 13-57 mark is the worst in the NBA. The disappointing season could end up costing coach and team president Isiah Thomas his job - ESPN.com reported on Monday night that Indiana chief executive and president Donnie Walsh, who is stepping aside after this season, had agreed to oversee New York’s basketball operations.
That move would put Thomas’ future as coach in question, but the Pacers said Tuesday that Walsh had not made any decisions about his plans. Before Monday’s game, Thomas, who started his coaching career at Indiana, refused to discuss his job security.
“I don’t comment on my job status, and I’m sure not going to comment on anything that Donnie chooses to do or not do,” Thomas said.
“He’s had a great career, he’s one of the best who’s ever done it. I wish him great success and he’s someone that I respect tremendously. He gave me my first coaching job and I truly do like him as a person and he’s done a lot for the game.”
Zach Randolph chipped in 17 points against the Nets after being benched by Thomas in the previous two games.
The Knicks have won four of their last five against the Heat.
Miami won for the first time in four games on Monday, beating Milwaukee 78-73. Chris Quinn, a second-year guard from Notre Dame, filled in for the injured Jason Williams and scored a career-high 24 points. Miami’s only two wins over its last 13 games have come against the Bucks.
“Chris is accomplished and he’s been working hard at it,” coach Pat Riley said. “You can see the improvement in the game and the confidence.”
Williams will miss at least a week with a right thumb injury he suffered on March 18. He joins a long list of injured Heat players that includes Dwyane Wade (knee), Udonis Haslem (ankle), Dorell Wright (knee) and Alonzo Mourning (knee), each of whom are out for the season, along with center Alexander Johnson (knee) and Shawn Marion (back).