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TOO BAD GARDEN HOOPLA FOR VISITORS TO HAVE to watch a Knicks game on the same day as the Yankees held a parade to celebrate their 27th World Series championship is a lot like being fed stale pizza after everyone else enjoyed steak.

At least Knicks fans had the chance to dream a little bit last night. LeBron James was in the building, and though reality suggests the odds are against him wearing a Knicks uniform next year, that thin ray of hope was enough to pump some energy in the fabled building.

A packed house, plenty of celebrities and even a few past and present Yankees were on hand for the nationally televised game between the Cavaliers and the Knicks . It almost felt like old times. Too bad all the commotion was about the visiting team.

"We have to get to the point where the Knicks are that energy and the Knicks are that attraction," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said before James scored 33 points to lead the Cavaliers to a 100-91 win. "We're not there yet, obviously. It's something we're working for and we'll eventually get there."

The Knicks (1-5) have a long way to go before becoming any kind of attraction. Of course, that could change next summer, when James and other big-time players become free agents. James said last night he will "look at all my options then." After the game he said money isn't a primary factor.

"It's all a matter of winning," James said.

If the Knicks are going to have any chance of signing James, they have to prove themselves worthy of his presence. To do that, they must make something of this season, something that will make James think the franchise is headed in a positive direction with a chance of not only making the playoffs, but compete for a championship in the not so distant future. If there's any meaning to this year, that is the mission statement.

Clearly, James likes his situation in Cleveland. The Cavaliers reached the second round of the playoffs last year and signed Shaquille O'Neal this year.

"I feel like our team is set to where we can play deep into the playoffs and possibly contend for an NBA championship," James said.

Right now, the Knicks don't even have a foundation. D'Antoni is high on second-year shooter Danilo Gallinari and sees promise in Wilson Chandler, but everyone else is filling space. "We've got to turn this around and get to where we can make this season positive and make it fun for everybody," D'Antoni said, before adding, "Just in case."

The Knicks seemed to use everything but their performance on the court to impress James during his only visit to the Garden this year. Several Yankees, including Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Joba Chamberlain, and CC Sabathia, were introduced between quarters and stood at center court as the Garden bathed them in cheers.

James was greeted by loud applause during the introductions.

"You almost feel like a performer sitting on the stage and they're watching you perform," he said. "It's hard not to feel good coming into this building."

Lights, cameras, celebrities . . . Right now the Knicks can give James everything but a contender.

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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 8, 2009


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