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April 1, 2005 -- Bloated and rotten, the Knicks are dead in the water. The question was simple, the task not quite.

Tim Thomas didn't even attempt to answer how to stop Vince Carter, whom the Knicks will take on tonight. Instead, he walked away from reporters following Knick practice yesterday.

So much for big games. So much for the Knicks-Nets rivalry getting their blood pumping, and so much for getting excited to play in a game with playoff implications. Of course, those implications are more for the Nets than the flat-lining Knicks, who have lost four straight, and must get comfortable with the tag of being a spoiler.

"It's another game," Thomas said just before blowing off those asking him about facing Carter. "It's just another game and another opportunity for us to get a win."

Perhaps if it was not just another game and the beaten-down Knicks looked at each date on the schedule as something more than just another game, maybe the Knicks wouldn't be where they are right now, which is staring down the barrel of their third lottery pick in the last four years.

"I don't think it's just another game," said coach Herb Williams, the only voice worth listening to around the Knicks anymore.

"I don't think any of our games down the stretch is just another game. All of our games are important. We have to finish up the season strong. We can't go out thinking it's just another game. It's a game that you have to win."
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