GREENBURGH, N.Y. - The Knicks players have had very little to feel good about this season and now they want other teams to share some of their misery.
A few Knicks sounded extra-motivated about Wednesday's game against the Nets and the potential of hurting their playoff chances. Of course, the Knicks, who have lost a franchise-high 60 games this season, would have to actually win the game.
"We haven't had a [good] season but we want to go out there and kind of ruin everybody else's season, too," Jason Smith said after practice Tuesday. "We've said that in film. We've said that in practice. We don't have a chance of making the playoffs. We know that. We want to make sure that other teams don't really get that chance, either, especially Brooklyn, our hometown rival."
The Nets began Tuesday percentage points behind Boston for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. Led by Brook Lopez, they've been playing better of late. The Knicks, on the other hand, have dropped seven straight -- the last six by an average of 20 points.
But in this lost season -- that ends two weeks from Wednesday -- the Knicks (14-60) are looking for whatever they can to motivate them. Potentially playing spoiler apparently is one thing.
"We could do that," Cleanthony Early said. "Things are already messed up. Let's mess some other things up."
Four of the Knicks' next five games are against teams fighting to get in the postseason or for playoff position. Each loss would help the future of the Knicks' franchise.
They currently are two games up on Minnesota for the worst record in the NBA. If the Knicks finish dead last, they will have a 25 percent chance of getting the top overall pick and can't select any lower than fourth.
The Knicks also should have about $30 million to spend in free agency.
Team president Phil Jackson addressed the future in a letter and video to season-ticket holders, according to ESPN.com. Jackson asked fans to "remain optimistic" and assured them "everyone in the organization is working tirelessly to get our Knicks back to a place where we are once again competing at the highest level."
Derek Fisher echoed Jackson's sentiments.
"We have one message and that's been delivered," Fisher said. "Phil's message is our message: that we do have a path and we're going to continue to work until we get farther down that path and down that road. And it's the actions that will set the table.
"We have the money. We have the draft pick. We have the ability to build whatever it is we want to build here, which is a gift. But we have to utilize that gift properly."
Fisher also said it's good that the Knicks are ending the season with games that are considered meaningful. But he thinks the Knicks' approach should be the same no matter the game or situation. "I think that's where we have to get to is that whether it's Game 1, Game 70 or Game 82, whether the other team is really good or not, we're the same," Fisher said."That's what San Antonio has done. That's what the great teams have done in the past and that's what we need to become."
Notes & quotes: Tim Hardaway Jr. remains out because of a sprained right wrist, leading to Fisher cracking a joke at the shooting guard's expense: "He's not able to shoot the ball righthanded at this point. We know he loves to shoot."