Thursday , Jan , 31 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Do the New York Knicks Have a Playoff Shot?

The Knicks went 0 for California, but Coach Isiah Thomas left the state with some nice parting gifts — a warm hug and a big endorsement, both from his longtime friend Magic Johnson. Johnson, the N.B.A. legend and part owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, met with Thomas for about 30 minutes before their teams played Tuesday night. Johnson expressed sympathy and support and made this bold claim about the Knicks: ‘They’re going to make the playoffs. I think that they’re going to be a tough eight or seven seed, too.’

Not even Thomas is making such confident proclamations these days. Hours after he met with Johnson, Thomas stood in a Staples Center hallway and appeared rightly depressed. The Knicks blew a 9-point lead in the fourth quarter to lose to the Lakers, 120-109. Two nights earlier, they blew a 4-point lead in the fourth quarter of a 106-104 loss to the Golden State Warriors.For all of their recent progress — and people like Johnson. Click here for more from the New York Times.