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IT'S A DECLARATION OF FANS' DESPONDENCE THE Knicks went through an elaborate introduction last night at the Garden where each player was introduced one-by-one in front of a portable big screen that flashed their image. After being announced, each of the Knicks walked down a long ramp through the crowd, tapping hands with fans along the way.

Those who had come to the Knicks home opener tried to express some excitement. But you couldn't blame them if they fantasized about next season when perhaps LeBron James or Dwyane Wade could be coming down that ramp in a Knicks uniform.

"Wait Until Next Year," is a phrase usually uttered at the end of the season. But it should be the motto of the 2009-10 Knicks , who have cleared cap space with the hope of landing one of the game's best players when they become free agents next summer.

Instead the official motto is simply "Declare." That's what it says on the media guide and the T-shirts the Knicks tossed into the stands before last night's game against the Sixers. No one is quite sure what "Declare" is supposed to mean. "Declare your team, declare your colors, declare anything you want," said a team source.

Well, let's declare this process of waiting for 2010 free agency excruciating. How else would you describe watching the Knicks last night as they trailed 40-25 after the first quarter and 70-51 at halftime only to rally behind the hot shooting of Danilo Gallinari (30 points) and gritty play of Al Harrington (42 points) only to lose 141-127.

Let's declare it unacceptable to go through the motions for 31/2 quarters before deciding to give a professional effort, which is what the home team did last night.

"That's what the Knicks are about," said Knicks fan Tom Davidson, 24, of Levittown. "They're down 20, then they cut into the lead, you get all excited and they end up losing the game anyway."

You can't blame fans like Davidson, who was wearing a Patrick Ewing jersey. They've seen more than their share of bad Basketball in recent years. A wild rally from 17 points down with six minutes to play, followed by a meltdown in overtime is tough to endure.

"I'm all for the plan for next year," said Ken Nahoum, of Soho, who pays for six season tickets. "But, I think things could have been done to make the team better this year. They at least have to make it seem like they care. If they don't put together a good team this year, LeBron isn't coming."

The Knicks (0-3) showed no signs of being any better than they were last year when they finished 32-50 in coach Mike D'Antoni's first year as head coach. Their defense was mostly non-existent as the Sixers shot 60.7 percent for the game.

The Knicks teased their fans late as Gallinari buried eight three-pointers and Harrington was brilliant in the fourth-quarter before fouling out in overtime. D'Antoni called the late surge something "we need to build on," but the Knicks need to be "reprogrammed," especially on defense, according to Larry Hughes, who after two DNP's had 18 points.

"You have to enjoy stopping the other team," he said. "That comes with just learning how to win."

D'Antoni said he wanted to "accentuate the positives," from last night's home opener, all six minutes of them. It's hard to get excited about that. Let's declare this is going to be a long, long season.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 3, 2009


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