Way to go, Isiah
(Sports Network) - Since signing a multiyear contract extension in early March, New York Knicks head coach Isiah Thomas has just three wins over the last 13 games.
It's safe to say had Thomas not been offered an extension, he would be eating potato chips and watching the Knicks' season unfold from his couch. But Thomas is still roaming the sidelines in his expensive suits and laughing all the way to the bank courtesy of Knickerbockers owner James Dolan.
After defeating the Washington Wizards on March 10 thanks to a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Steve Francis, New York was tied with the Orlando Magic for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Since then Thomas was extended and the Magic have increased their lead to three games over New York in the East standings.
Indiana is in the middle, just a game behind Orlando for the final berth.
Thomas, though, has been plagued by an injury-riddled roster, forcing him to use rookies Renaldo Balkman and Mardy Collins more often than usual. No coach wants to rely on first-year players when a postseason berth is on the line, but that was the hand Thomas was dealt and he can't afford to fold now.
Collins, a rookie out of Temple, has started the last three games and is averaging 13.2 points over the previous five contests.
The Knicks showed a pulse on Saturday with a 118-113 overtime win against the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center, ending a four-game losing streak. New York was without Francis, who missed his fifth straight game with an ankle injury and is averaging 10.2 points and 4.0 rebounds this season.
Thomas' squad also beat the Bucks without stud point guard Stephon Marbury. Marbury has been very durable in the Big Apple this season, but a toe problem forced him to miss just his second game of 2006-07. "Starbury", as he likes to call himself, is averaging 16.4 points and a team-high 5.4 assists this season.
With the pressure on and shirt collars starting to get hot, the Knicks will host the mighty Detroit Pistons on Monday followed by a three-game road trip at Chicago, New Jersey and Toronto. New York will close out the regular season with a game at home versus New Jersey and a road tilt at Charlotte.
Knickerbockers center Eddy Curry has been a bright spot the entire campaign and is averaging 25.6 points and 9.8 rebounds over the past five games. He leads the team with 19.5 ppg and 7.1 rpg through 75 games.NYK