Rangers are up, Knicks are down

Who are these guys? The Knicks. For starters, perhaps the worst team in NBA history.

It’s like night and day for the two main tenants at Madison Square Garden these days. The Rangers are soaring, having won 12 of their last 13 games, their hottest streak since the Stanley Cup season of 1993-94. And the Knicks. Unwatchable.

When Phil Jackson took over last year, Knick fans were hoping that their team might finally reach the championship heights last seen in 1973. At the very least, they were hoping for a competitive team. After all, just two seasons ago the Knicks won 54 games and finished second in the NBA Eastern Conference.

Instead, we’ve been sold a bill of goods with yet another rebuilding program, another wait-until-next-year approach. Listen up Zen Doctor, 40 years of mostly lousy basketball is long enough.

The Knicks are currently on a 14-game losing streak, the longest in their star-crossed history. They’ve lost 24 of their last 25 games, and at 5-34 stand last in the league, behind even the lowly Philadelphia 76ers, who lost their first 17 games. At this pace, they could finish with the worst single-season record in NBA history, behind the 9-73 76ers of 1972-73.

The worst record in team history belongs to the 1963-63 Knicks, who were 21-59, a .263 winning percentage. At least that team had some exciting players in future Hall of Famers Tom Gola and Richie Guerin, along with Johnny Green and Willie Naulls. And they were just a couple of years away from drafting players like Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Bill Bradley, and yes, Phil Jackson, who would lead the Knicks to their only two NBA titles.

Here’s a challenge. Name three players on the today’s Knicks other than Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, who never play anyway.

At least there’s hope with the Rangers, who made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals last year before losing to the Los Angeles Kings. The Blueshirts are currently the hottest team in the NHL, light years away from their worst team. That would be the 6-39-5 club of 1943-44.

With goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Rick Nash on a goal-scoring tear and a corps of young defensemen, the Rangers are poised for another playoff run. The Knicks. They’ll be on the sidelines, waiting and watching.

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