I had to wait 24 hours to write this, and honestly, my stomach can still barely take it. A wire-to-wire 14-point loss to the Pacers (which was much worse than the score indicated), a six-turnover, one-assist performance by Mr. Marbury, and absolutely no help defense whatsoever. Or help offense, for that matter. Sometimes you have to wonder if half these guys even know each other. But let’s start at the beginning.

• Al Harrington has a mohawk. An honest-to-goodness Travis Bickle mohawk. It’s doubtful he made a pre-game pilgrimage to the site of CBGB, but if he had, he would have fit right in.

• Jermaine O’Neal cut his hair off as well. Nothing special, just close-cropped. Basically he got sick of finging (or flying people out) to do his braids. Can’t say I blame him. Although now he looks like a 15-year-old kid again (albeit a 15-year-old kid with the body of a superhero).

• Stephen “Whooo!” Jackson looks like he aged 20 years over the offseason. Can’t imagine why. He also got more ink. I think. Not that he even comes CLOSE to Marquis Daniels. Inkwise, that is.

• On the Knicks side, Steve Francis has a pair of Air Max 360s in front of his locker. So much for the great Starbury experiment. Is it the shoes? Or is it Steph?

• Pounds for Jamal Crawford and David Lee. I still haven’t spoken a word to Renaldo Balkman, mostly because he’s one elusive cat.

• Jerome James is still in street clothes with “plantar fasciitis” AKA “I didn’t do anything this summer” AKA “I got my money, what?” Isiah should have signed him up for the marathon on Sunday. Heck, that way at worst he’s forced to actually run 26 miles, at best he suffers a career-ending injury and is off the roster. Why didn’t they buy HIM out instead of Jalen?

• Because this night should last as long as possible, the in-arena announcer introduces ALL the players. On both teams. As you can imagine, Rawle Marshall gets a tremendous response.

• Al Harrington is in the starting lineup—as the center.

• New Knick intros! To some generic music from The Matrix, they air highlights (from last season?) directly onto the court. They probably only look good from the nosebleeds—which is quite fitting, actually.

• There is a benefit to all the Knicks being introduced, as it gives the fans an excellent opportunity to boo Jerome James. They do not disappoint.

• Steve Francis is chosen to deliver an announcement to the fans. He says, in part, “it’s going to be a very energetic season for this team you see on the sidelines.” OK. “Well, except for Jerome, of course,” he doesn’t add.

• Jess Kersey, freshly bandaged off the new ball’s Bill Rafteryesque kiss, is out there. You can’t stop him.

• I’ve been watching Quentin Richardson for a long time now, and I still can’t get over how damn big his calves are. I mean, it looks like he’s wearing eight pairs of socks when he’s only wearing one. Ridiculous.

• Steph tries a behind-the-back pass in traffic through roughly nine Pacers, the ball squirts out, and Eddy Curry actually DIVES after it. He gets tied up by Jermaine O’Neal and loses the jumpball, but A for effort, I guess.

• Two or three minutes later Eddy gets snuffed hard by JO, and that’s more like it.

• Larry Brown turns off the game in absolute disgust. OK, that didn’t happen, because there’s no way Larry ever turned this game on to begin with.

• Steph misses a three, and Jeff Foster converts a left-handed layup on the other end. 16-8, Pacers.

• The “celebrity list” provided for photographers is laughably weak. John McEnroe is cool, but it goes swiftly downhill after that. Sofia Vergara? Regina King? Jason Lewis? Steve freakin’ Schirripa? I thought this was New York? Spike’s here, of course, but he doesn’t make the celebrity list. Neither did I, for some reason.

• Back on the court, another wonderful sequence. Curry gets blocked by Marquis Daniels, Foster catches a dunk on the other end, and Steph comes back and promptly charges into Jermaine O’Neal. Yep, the uptempo offense looks great.

• The last two minutes of the first quarter are perhaps the worst basketball ever played in the World’s Most Famous, and should be forgotten immediately. 22-14 Pacers after 1.

• Oh, Nate Robinson’s in the all-new Air Force 25, a high-tech shoe based on the good ol’ Air Force 1. They’re all white so it’s hard to tell, but I’m pretty sure that’s what they are.

• Hey, it’s Renaldo Balkman for the first time! Good to see ya, RB.

• Oh, more ineptitude. Curry fumbles an entry pass from Crawford, the perpetually perplexed-looking Davis Harrison picks it up and fires a baseball pass right back to Crawford. Of course the Knicks can’t even capitalize on that, and Darrell Armstrong buries a three.

• Renaldo Balkman offensive rebound, layup. If I were Isiah, I’d start him every night and play him until he fouled out. No, that’s not true. If I were Isiah, I’d find a way to trade for, say, Baron Davis and Troy Murphy. Adonal Foyle? Sure, throw him in there, too.

• Al Harrington for three. He also brings the ball upcourt sometimes, which means he’s basically playing every position at the same time. With a mohawk. And a headband. Big Al’s the best.

• Jamal Crawford and Eddy Curry (the only two Knicks who seem to have any sort of chemistry whatsoever) connect on an alley-oop.

• Knicks time out, Darrell Armstrong trey. Good looks, NY.

• Stephen Jackson, airball three. But then again I guess we already know that he never aims at anything when he shoots.

• It’s 45-40 at the half, mostly because the Pacers have yet to go to the free-throw line. The Knicks are shooting 33 percent from the floor.

• Al Harrington comes out of the locker room on fire. Tragically for the assembled Knick fans (and Knicks) that’s only a figure of speech. Two, two, three, and he’s up to 22 points on the night. And the Pacer lead is back to a comfortable 10.

• Halfway through the third, I notice that Jamal Tinsley has eight points and 12 assists. Another stellar sequence here: Jack layup, Nate Robinson airball three, Harrington layup. 71-58, Pacers.

• Steve Francis apparently changed shoes at halftime, from the 360s to the ubiquitous Elites (the Zoom ones). He also continues to get to the line every time he drives to the basket.

• The Pacers have a full complement of headbanded players on the floor—Jackson, O’Neal, Tinsley, Harrington and Marquis. Think the League keeps stats on things like that?

• And the Knicks seem to want to make things interesting. Nate Robinson hits a layup to get it to 77-73, and then he drops a three from the top of the key with a tenth left to make it 77-76 going into the fourth. Do they have the momentum now? Can they pull it out? Will they send the MSG faithful home happy?

• No.

• 6-0 Pacer run. Armstrong and Harrington and Jasikevicius, oh my.

• Stephon takes a bad shot, and follows it with a turnover. “Frustration” is a word that comes to mind.

• Lead’s safely back to 10 with 8:39 to go.

• Another Marbury turnover leads to a DA layup. Francis, back to defend, grabs the rim and comes down holding his wrist (although he stays in the game). Steph kicks the ball straight to Isiah (his best shot all night), and draws the inevitable tech.

• My attention travels to the rafters, where I notice a “JOEL 12” banner, no doubt hung for the Piano Man, Billy Joel. I know there’s a banner for Bruce Springsteen in the Continental, and I start to wonder who else has banners where.  ZZ Top in Houston? Elvis in Memphis? Boston in Boston?

• Oh right, the game. I’m brought back by the “Fire Thomas!” chant, which begins at the 4:18 mark of the fourth quarter. Perhaps to divert attention away from himself, Isiah subs Steph in for Jamal Crawford. It’s a brilliant plan—Steph is booed lustily.

• Al Harrington gets his 30th point. The people who aren’t leaving take note.

• 2:55 left, fans leaving in droves, home team getting stomped—yeah, sounds like a good time to throw t-shirts. Inexplicably, none get thrown back.

• 101-87. Steph throws an alley-oop for Eddy Curry that misses by a good five feet.

• I’d say the uptempo offense is a failure so far, but the uptempo defense—allowing the opponent to score at will—is already in mid-season form. Bravo.

• And now what we’ve all been waiting for: 56 seconds of Maceo Baston.

• He doesn’t touch the ball.

• Final score, 109-95. Al Harrington finishes with 32 points and seven boards. Steve Francis, who fous out, ends with 25 points (12-13 from the line) and six assists. And Marbury puts up four points (on one-of-nine from the floor), one assist and six turnovers. JO has 17 and 7, along with 5 blocks.

• Postgame, in the Pacer locker room, Jamal Tinsley calls Al Harrington ‘Osama.’ “Why Osama?,” he’s asked. “Because you can’t find him in the summer.” Love it.

• But it’s Jack who has the quote of the night. So good I have to dig out my notebook and write it down. “I couldn’t hit a house if I was in it tonight,” he cackles. “But we won.”