The Knicks lost six more games than they won during the 1975-76 season. They finished in fourth place in the four-team Atlantic Division. The Philadelphia 76ers, meanwhile, finished above .500 and in third place in the Atlantic. Neither team was very good. The Sixers were trotting out Billy Cunningham, Daryl Dawkins and World B. Free while the Knicks had an aging Clyde Frazier, Pearl and Dollar Bill on the roster. Still, one of these teams eked out a few more wins than losses and reached the playoffs. Last night felt a lot like '76.
Because if these Knicks fall short of the eighth seed in the East then this will be a night that I will think back to. Although losses to the Lakers and Cavs and Celtics a few weeks back garnered far more press it will be losses like last night's defeat to Philly that will have sunk this team. The Knicks are gunning for mediocrity. Which means that they are allowed to lose to the elite teams. It's great to defeat the Celtics in one out of four games. But, I'd rather beat the StolenSonics in two out of two games. To stay alive long enough to print up playoff rally towels the Knickerbockers cannot drop games to the teams in their in own welterweight class. Teams like the Sixers. Like the Clippers. Like the Warriors. Or the StolenSonics. These four losses are far more devastating than the three home losses during that "dream week."