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The Knicks' losing streak and the ghosts of 1985

A happy ending is possible.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

We are on the cusp of history, ladies and gentleman, and given what we already know about the 2014-15 New York Knicks, that history can only be the bad kind.

Indeed, the boys in the orange and blue are about to tie the franchise record for consecutive losses in a single season, pending the results of Monday night's contest in Memphis against the Grizzlies. (I consider myself something of an amateur seer, so I'm going to put myself out on a limb and call that game a loss).

Twelve consecutive defeats -- not even in the depths of the Isiah era did New York suffer such an indignity (The 2005-06 squad lost a mere 10 games in a row). To find a similar streak, one has to travel all the way back to the 1984-85 campaign, when the Hubie Brown Knicks lost their final 12 games of the season en route to a pathetic 24-58 campaign.

There are a few parallels between the mid-80s Knicks and this current squad if you squint hard enough. The Knicks had enjoyed a brief renaissance with a squad featuring an elite scoring forward (Bernard King), a stout defensive center (Bill Cartwright) and a crew of role players, similar to what we experienced in 2012-13. But by 1984 the supporting cast had deteriorated, Cartwright was gone (missed the entire season with a foot injury), and not even Bernard could halt the Knicks' slide into obscurity. King missed the final 11 games of the season-ending losing streak with a knee injury that would cost him the entire 1985-86 season.

And please consider this the next time you hear someone bashing Carmelo Anthony for the Knicks' woes, wielding the tired old "any truly elite player can carry a team to a decent record" line: Bernard King played 55 of 82 games that season. He won the 1984-85 scoring title, averaging 32.9 points per game. And New York was still terrible.

As wretched as the 84-85 team was, however, they will almost certainly be supplanted by this year's squad. The Knicks can break the franchise record for consecutive losses on Wednesday night at Washington. Naturally, league rules stipulate that turtle-faced butt goblin Paul Pierce be present at every embarrassing moment for the Knicks franchise.

So what can we learn from the 1984-85 Knicks? Any discussion of that team is usually quickly followed with the fact that New York subsequently won the 1985 draft lottery and the right to select Patrick Ewing. The Knicks finished with the NBA's third-worst record that year, moved up two spots thanks to the lottery, and the whole damn basketball world has been howling "RIGGED" ever since.

That was 30 years ago. If the NBA draft worked on a wheel basis -- meaning every team gets the No. 1 pick on rotation -- the Knicks' spot would be coming up pretty soon. The round-number gap between that fateful year and the present certainly feels auspicious, does it not?

Sadly, the world doesn't necessarily work that way. The ghosts of 1985 will not affect the ping-pong balls of 2015, nor will the Knicks' relatively poor lottery luck during the Dolan era. The only thing to do now is keep on losing. Any good gambler knows that playing based on lucky numbers is a fool's game. All you can do is work to increase the odds in your favor, then let the chips fall where they may.