Friday, January 16, 2009

Street Cleaning

Knicks Go For Rare Season Sweep Tonight in DC

The 2003-2004 season included the Knick's last trip to the postseason. Under the direction of head coach Don Chaney, then (briefly) head coach Herb Williams and lastly head coach Lenny Wilkens, the Knicks finished with a 39-43 record. This was good for a third-place finish in the woeful Atlantic Division (5 of 7 teams finished below .500) and a berth in the playoffs. The Knicks were dispatched by the New Jersey Nets in the first round in just four games. It was a sweep.

Which brings us to the Knicks chance to dust off their own long unused broom, if the Knicks can manage to win tonight's @Wizards tilt in the District of Columbia then they will have swept a four-game season series for the first time since that '03-'04 campaign. In the meantime, the Knicks have been swept in four-game, regular-season sets by Cleveland, Chicago, Miami, New Jersey, Atlanta, Boston and Indiana.

The '03-'04 Knicks trotted out Shandon Anderson 80 times. That team's frontcourt featured Kurt Thomas, Dikembe Mutumbo, Michael Doleac, Othella Harrington, Mike Sweetney and eventually the skeletal Vin Baker. Keith Van Horn, Antonio McDyess, Charlie Ward, Clarence Weatherspoon and Howard Eisley began that season on the Knicks' roster but ended it elsewhere. Stephon Marbury, Tim Thomas, Moochie Norris, Anfernee Hardaway and Nazr Mohammed began that season elsewhere but completed it at the Garden. Allan Houston played (and started) 50 times. This team-in-flux managed to sweep one four-game matchup that year. And, it was against the Washington Wizards. The Wiz finished with a 25-57 record that year - good for second worst in the NBA - and started Kwame Brown in 57 games. I'm going to guess that he didn't start every loss but the coincidence makes you wonder.

If the Knicks can pull out the win tonight, which they should provided they keep Nick Young from achieving another career high in points, then this season will begin to look like '03-'04 in yet another way. Aside from the in-season trades that turned over the roster there was also a sense of hope around that club. And two home playoff games. The season ended with Stephon Marbury on the roster and Lenny Wilkens on the sideline. The future looked bright. It wasn't, of course. But we didn't know that then. Just like we don't know what lies ahead now. Um. Nevermind. It's best to ignore that last thought and focus on the fact that Knicks have a chance tonight to do something that they haven't done in a while.

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