By Sam Rubenstein

Am I stupid enough to be reeled in by one more Knicks run? Every time I have told someone “You know, I don’t get sick to my stomach watching the Knicks play this year”, they immediately find a new painful way to lose. After they started their “must-win” stretch by losing to Portland at home, the season seemed to be spiraling out of control. I think the loss to Seattle is what really killed them, when Steph put the team on his back to lead NY out of a huge deficit, hitting about 7 threes in 5 minutes of the fourth (exaggerating for effect) and ended up choking the game away at the free throw line. Last night, he made up for that with a rim rattling three to give the Knicks the win over Cleveland. I don’t know if I’m ready to believe or allow my empty heart to feel excitement about this team right now. They’re still a game and a half behind Orlando for the coveted 8th seed. LeBron had a bad night, shooting only 6 of 20, while Sasha Pavlovic was raining open threes, 6 of 7 if you’re counting. Lang was at the game, and I expect he’ll have much more on it. Steve Francis left with an injury. Hey, that was a great resurgence he had for a week or two. Is it possible to be anymore of an enigma than Steve Francis?

Transitioning to another New York Knicks enigma, how about that Micheal Ray Richardson? I personally am not offended by what he said, and I’ll even go as far to say that one of my favorite rap lines of all-time is when Jadakiss said “I got a Jew lawyer that does defense like Hoyas.” But whether it’s insulting or not, the lesson here is that unless you are Charles Barkley, you simply can not make blanket statements generalizing about an entire race of people. I consider myself to be shrewd and crafty. But the other night I was out at a bar with a fellow member of the tribe, and he needed to borrow money from me to buy a beer because he was broke and waiting on a check from working as a laborer at an art gallery. That, I would not consider shrewd or crafty. He also had some more Tim Hardaway-ish stuff to say, but I think one of the lessons of this season is that some old former NBA stars aren’t always the most intelligent bunch, even if they have mastered how to bounce a ball and put it in a round hoop.

Moving on…

Dirk Nowitzki hurt his ankle in the first half of the Dallas-Milwaukee game, didn’t return after halftime, and now the Mavs will probably be careful with him and allow him to rest. They won their 60th – that’s right 60th game last night, and they still have 11 to go. The Suns are 6.5 behind them in the race for the one seed. Michael Redd was having a big night, 34 points on 14 of 18 shooting, 4 of 5 threes, and then he didn’t take another shot until the very end of the game when he couldn’t get a wild shot to go with 3.3 seconds left. It’s almost as if the Bucks wanted to play well, but not win the game for some unknown mysterious reason. Jason Terry led the Mavs with 27 and Stackhouse added 21 off the bench.

HOUSTON 92 LA CLIPPERS 87
The Rockets survived early this season without T-Mac, when Yao was an MVP front runner. Then he got hurt, so T-Mac came back and put the team on his achy, um, back. Now that both of them are healthy, we are seeing the power of the Rockets. 24 and 15 for Yao, 27 (on 30 shots) and 8 for Mac. The Utah-Houston first round series is basically a foregone conclusion at this point, it’s just a matter of who gets home court. The Clippers got 24 and 6 from Elton Brand and they are still a game and a half up for the honor of playing Dallas in the first round.

UTAH 108 MINNESOTA 102
When combined with Denver’s loss, the Jazz clinched their division title. 22 and 14 for Deron Williams, big 20-10+ numbers form Boozer and Memo too. Kevin Garnett is not going to make it to the playoffs for the second straight year. If people are still debating Oden vs. Durant, think of it this way. Durant is like KG, and Oden is like Duncan. Durant is more electrifying, Oden is more effective. What type of player would you rather have, Duncan or KG? Oden is the first pick, case closed. Then again, my baseball fantasy league drafts tonight, and there’s a rumor going around that the guy picking first is going to take Soriano over Pujols, so you never know about these over-thinkers. He was once in the running to write a fantasy column for Slamonline. Emry DowningHall would never make a pick like that.

SEATTLE 100 DENVER 97
Rashard Lewis must think the draft lottery is like the classic short story by Shirley Jackson where you SPOILER ALERT die if you win. Lewis has put up 30+ on back to back nights, this time against a playoff-bound team. Melo had 28, Iverson had 14 for the Nuggets, who probably want to remain as the 7th seed, so they can run with Phoenix in the first round. Nene had 17 and 13 in the loss. Denver is starting to show some depth.

SAN ANTONIO 92 NEW ORLEANS 88
The Spurs must have been bored of blowing teams out of the water, so they let the Hornets take a 9 point lead into the fourth and worked on their clamp down defense. Tim Duncan scored 31, Brent Barry hit 5 of 8 threes, and Chris Paul’s 20 and 9 wasn’t enough for New Orleans’ fading playoff hopes.

And let’s wrap this up quickly. The Nets ran by Indy with ease, as Josh Boone had a double-double. The Pacers are bad. Washington got Caron Butler back from a knee injury, and he hit a 75 footer on his way to 21 points, with Deshawn Stevenson leading the team with 28. Iguodala had 26 in the loss and missed what could have been a tying three at the buzzer. Boston and Orlando went to double overtime, where the Celtics won. This is very good for the Knicks playoff chances, cause now the Magic should be tired and demoralized. In this NBA season, that means they’ll probably win 8 of 9 or something. Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 32. Toronto took a step closer to getting homecourt in the first round of the playoffs behind 13 and 18 from Chris Bosh in a win over Miami, who they would face in round one if the Wizards can take the southeast. And speaking of the southeast, Charlotte blew out Atlanta, giving the Hawks another lottery ball as the Bobcats now have a better record. The Hawks have lost 5 in a row ever since Lang mentioned their 4 game winning streak. I warned him that the Hawks will always be the Hawks. Gerald Wallace had 31 and 9 for Charlotte.

God of War II is still amazing. For anyone interested, last night I got up to the cut scene where you find out what happened in the great war, and how the Titans fell.