New York-area basketball fans have pretty much thrown in the towel on this season. The Knicks have been one bad joke without a punchline.
The Nets: well, they're the Nets and they're in New Jersey. Despite being for years the best local and more-interesting team to watch, The New York Times decided they were no longer worthy of a beat writer and only cover home games with whatever reporter doesn't have anything else to do at night. On the road, it's the A.P. or bust.
The Knicks beat reporter at the time is Howard Beck, who reliably covers a team that keeps finding new ways to define pathetic. Beck has been with them home and away, serving more as the chronicler of the soap opera called As Isiah Turns, than reporting on meaningless games.
Yet, there he wasn't in today's Times.
Beck was instead dispatched to the Meadowlands to cover the overtime thriller won by the Nets, for the first time without Jason Kidd, who was traded to the Dallas Mavericks.
Instead, it was the Knicks who got the wire-service treatment. The Times couldn't even muster a stringer for the game. Maybe just as well. The Knicks lost by 40 points to the Philadelphia 76ers.
But that the Times wasn't there to record the carnage was telling, not just of the trainwreck of a team, but the ever-tightening budget at the sports department, which has already decimated its hockey coverage, despite having three local teams in playoff contention.
If the assumption is that now that spring training is started, New Yorkers no longer care about any other sport, well, that's a lousy assumption, and one of many poor judgments by the Times, whose chieftains may like to think they consistently put out an eclectic, thorough sports report.
Again, a lousy assumption.