We've heard all the explanations — excuses, really — for the way the Knicks have played for two full months, explanations about age, about injuries to Raymond Felton and Rasheed Wallace, all the rest of it. Through it all, Knicks fans cling to the memory of what their team has done twice to the Heat this season, once without Carmelo Anthony.

Everybody around here clings to the memory of the way the Knicks looked over the first 23 games of the season, 18-5 you bet, right there with the best teams in the league, the Knicks maybe the best story of November and the first half of December, even better than the Spurs as the Spurs defied their own advanced age once again.

But here is the current reality of the Knicks’ season:

They have been a .500 team, 14-13, since Dec. 15. And guess what? That happens to be a bigger sampling than 18-5 was, at which point we declared them Eastern Conference finalists and the team in their conference with the best chance of knocking off LeBron in the postseason.