There are a lot of ways to measure the mess and the murkiness in which the Knicks find themselves. They’ve lost four games in a row after yesterday’s 93-80 loss to the Clippers, and are a game away from taking a collar on this five-game Western Trek.

They are banged up. They are short-handed. They are missing $53 million worth of talent in Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler. If you took one game right now out of context — yesterday’s game, for instance — and you asked someone, “Does this better resemble a first-place team (which they still are, though barely) or a lottery team?” is there anyone who would vote A)?

They reached the point where a sympathetic man with a microphone sounded like he was trying to make them all feel better by asking yesterday: “Are you proud of how hard you guys played?”

And one of the respondents gives you as accurate — and telling — a measurement as you will find trying to assess where the Knicks are, both feet covered in quicksand that feels like it could grow north at any point: ankles, shins, knees, thighs.