By Jason Keidel
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Remember 18-5? The endless ballads and premature crown on Carmelo Anthony? The comparisons to Red Holzman’s juggernaut? The comparisons to the 1996 Bulls? To the 1972 Dolphins? To the 1968 UCLA Bruins? To the 1927 Yankees? To the Ming Dynasty?

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Yes, indeed. The Knicks have gagged all the goodwill and then some, plunging down the canals of crunch time — greased by age, wage, poor play and increasing indifference. Now, according to Craig Carton, the Knicks won’t win the Atlantic Division. And in case you didn’t hear his assertion on Wednesday, he repeated it on Thursday.

Is Carton correct? Do you buy his morbid prognostication that the hated and heated Nets will leapfrog the flailing Knicks and win the Atlantic?

Insulting New York sports teams is kind of like racial humor. Just as you must be of the same race or religion to poke fun at your people, you must be a Knicks fan to declare them dead. And hence I’ve been a fool for three years for saying that Anthony would never lead the Knicks to a title, despite a career arc that never lands in June. In fact, I denounced the deal the day it happened, both in print and on radio. Check the record. I never got a license for backseat driving.

For the few of us New Yorkers who don’t root for the Knicks, it was unfettered ecstasy to watch the whiplash they got from the Nuggets, who blew by them during a blowout that doubled as a slam-dunk contest. The Knicks can’t play offense or defense. Other than that, they’re quite sound. Melo quits on his team when the game gets ugly. More and more often we watch him limp off the court while the opposition lights up the scoreboard like the Dow Jones.

Please enlighten us, the unenlightened, on one small item…

When the Jets fail it falls on Mark Sanchez. When the Giants tank we talk about Eli Manning. When the Nets flop we feast on Deron Williams. When the Yanks stink we smell A-Rod. But when the Knicks lose it’s never Anthony’s fault.


It’s always “He has no help around him” or “Mike Woodson didn’t call the right play” or “The refs blew it” or “He’s hurt!”

Remember the ancient axiom of pro sports. If you’re injured, you don’t play; if you play, you’re not injured. Of course, as with all earnest and honest maxims, that rule applies to all but the anointed Anthony, who has my beloved city so mesmerized that he literally does no wrong. If this basketball thing doesn’t work out, his career as a magician is assured. He already makes the basketball disappear and paralyzes his teammates who watch him dribble and shoot ad nauseum, and he has made your otherwise sound sense of logic, skill and will evaporate.

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Repeat after you … it’s not his fault…

Melo is a microcosm of the me-first mantra that plagues the Knicks. Is it a coincidence that he has 42-point, 1-assist nights and the Knicks get smoked? As long as he gets his, the wins and losses are incidental. Maybe you saw some of the pictures from Wednesday night’s game, the slumped refrain of his teammates while they watched him pound the eject button yet again when the game got rough.

The Nuggets are second in assists (24.5) and the Knicks are second-to-last (19.4). Coincidence? Sure, as much as that score last night was. It must have been quite a sight to see the ad hoc chefs scramble to make a few thousand free tacos for the fans who stuck around to watch their beloved Nuggets ring the dinner bell.

As Al Dukes does on the morning show…

Ding Dong!

Who is it?

The Brooklyn Nets!

The Nets are indeed inching up on the Knicks, sitting just two games back in the Atlantic Division. Carton said on Wednesday — and reiterated it on Thursday – that the Nets will win the Atlantic.

Is he right? Either way, the Knicks are wrong. Very wrong.

18-5 sure feels like a long time ago…

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Will the Nets overtake the Knicks in the Atlantic Division? Which team will have more success in the playoffs? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…