Two days after hearing it from coach Isiah Thomas and hours after fans rallied to call for Thomas' firing, what could be more untimely than a visit from LeBron James and the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers?
Fortunately for the Knicks, the Cavaliers aren't impressing anyone on the court, either.
So everything turned out all right Wednesday night for the Knicks, who got their biggest _ and easiest _ win of the year over the Cavaliers, 108-90 to send Cleveland to its ninth loss in 11 games.
``I understand how important it is to make people feel good when they leave this arena,'' Thomas said. ``That is what we are trying to do. We understand the frustration and we want to please them.''
In Wednesday's other NBA games, it was: Detroit 87, Boston 85; Dallas 108, Phoenix 105; Atlanta 117, Miami 111 in overtime; Orlando 97, Houston 92; Memphis 88, San Antonio 85; Golden State 111, Minnesota 98; Portland 101, Toronto 96; Chicago 95, Washington 84; Indiana 102, Philadelphia 85; Charlotte 98, Utah 92; Sacramento 102, Milwaukee 89; and New Orleans 107, Seattle 93.
James had 32 points, eight rebounds and six assists for Cleveland, which had little energy two nights after a double-overtime victory over Milwaukee. Drew Gooden was the only other player in double figures with 11 points.
Cleveland's slide has left it at 11-15, eighth-best in the conference by a hair ahead of Milwaukee, New Jersey and Philadelphia. The Knicks are 8-17.
``It's our job to go out there and play hard, and play with pride and heart like he said,'' Quentin Richardson said. ``Regardless of anything else that's going on, it's our job to go out and play with full effort.''
Pistons 87, Celtics 85
Chauncey Billups hit two free throws with one-tenth of a second left and Detroit handed Boston its first home loss of the season.
The Celtics (20-3) had tied the 1963-64 team that eventually won the NBA title for best start in team history.
Billups, who scored 12 of his 28 points in the final quarter, was fouled by Tony Allen.
Kevin Garnett led the Celtics with 26 points and Ray Allen, who returned after missing the past two games because of a sore right ankle, had 24, including a game-tying 3-pointer with 18.9 seconds to play.
Mavericks 108, Suns 105
Dirk Nowitzki scored 31 points, including the Mavericks' final eight, giving Dallas just enough to hold off the Suns in yet another intense, entertaining game between the Western Conference rivals.
Host Dallas led by 17 at the end of the first quarter and Phoenix never recovered.
Amare Stoudemire had 25 points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Suns.
Hawks 117, Heat 111, OT
In Atlanta, Joe Johnson scored 25 points and gave Atlanta the lead for good with a three-point play and the Hawks outlasted the Heat in overtime.
Marvin Williams had 26 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawks.
Miami lost backup center Alonzo Mourning to a torn patellar tendon in his right knee in the first quarter, leaving his status for the rest of the season in doubt.
Magic 97, Rockets 92
In Houston, Dwight Howard had 21 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks and Orlando took advantage of Tracy McGrady's absence in the second half.
Yao scored 19 on 7-for-18 shooting and had 17 rebounds for Houston.
Grizzlies 88, Spurs 85
In Memphis, Tenn., Rudy Gay hit a 3-pointer over Tim Duncan as time expired.
Manu Ginobili's dunk with 2.4 seconds left tied it at 85. Juan Carlos Navarro threw an inbounds pass to Gay, who dribbled toward the top of the key and got off a shot as the horn sounded, sending San Antonio to its third straight road loss.
Mike Miller's season-high 31 points led Memphis, and Gay finished with 23 points.
Ginobili led the Spurs with 20 points, including 16 in the second half.
Warriors 111, Timberwolves 98
In Minneapolis, Al Harrington scored 25 points, including 14 in the decisive third quarter, and Golden State ran past Minnesota during another second-half fade by the Timberwolves.
Monta Ellis added 24 points and Stephen Jackson had 20 for Golden State.
Rashad McCants 23 points for Minnesota (3-21), which is off to the worst start in the franchise's 19 seasons.
Trail Blazers 101, Raptors 96
In Portland, Ore., Brandon Roy had 25 points, nine rebounds and eight assists and Portland won its ninth straight game.
Jose Calderon had 18 points and nine assists for the Raptors, while Chris Bosh added 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Bulls 95, Wizards 84
In Washington, Ben Gordon scored 22 points and Chicago used a 12-0 run in the final 4 minutes.
Washington's Caron Butler had his second triple-double of the season and career, with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
Pacers 102, 76ers 85
In Indianapolis, Marquis Daniels scored a season-high 26 points to lead the Pacers to their third straight win.
Jermaine O'Neal had 19 points, nine rebounds and five blocks, and Mike Dunleavy added 19 points for the Pacers (13-11).
Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller each scored 16 points for the 76ers.
Bobcats 98, Jazz 92
In Charlotte, N.C., Gerald Wallace scored 26 points and Jason Richardson had 24 to lead Charlotte's furious fourth-quarter comeback.
Carlos Boozer had 21 points and 15 rebounds and Deron Williams scored 20 points for the Jazz.
Kings 102, Bucks 89
In Milwaukee, Ron Artest scored 26 points and had eight assists and Beno Udrih hit a career-high six 3-pointers to help Sacramento beat Milwaukee to finish 3-2 on its five-game road trip.
Michael Redd had 27 points for the Bucks.
Hornets 107, SuperSonics 93
In Seattle, Chris Paul had 21 points and 15 assists, and Morris Peterson matched a career high with seven 3-pointers and finished with 25 points.
Rookie Kevin Durant led Seattle with 18 points.