|New York vs Charlotte|
|91 - 98|
New York tied a franchise record with its 59th loss, as Raymond Felton had 16 points and a season-high 14 assists Monday night to lead the Charlotte Bobcats to a 98-91 victory.
"After this season, there should be a lot of regret," said Knicks assistant Herb Williams, who again ran the team in the absence of Larry Brown. "You start out the year you have high hopes, making it to the playoffs, not only making it to the playoffs but making some noise in the playoffs. And when that don't happen you have to be disappointed.
"If you're not disappointed, you're in the wrong game. You should be doing something else."
The loss guaranteed that New York will finish alone in last place in the East. The second-year Bobcats (25-56) are three games ahead of the Knicks, who have the NBA's highest payroll, with one to play.
"I'm not interested in the bottom-feeding guys," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "The guys that aren't in the playoffs, we're all bottom feeders."
Both teams were without key players - and the Knicks were without Brown for the third straight game with a stomach ailment. They hope he will return Wednesday night in their season finale at New Jersey.
The Knicks will have to win that game to avoid the first 60-loss season in franchise history. They were 21-59 in 1962-63 and 23-59 during the 1985-86 season.
"Each loss was frustrating, going through each loss and seeing how far we had dropped," Knicks guard Jamal Crawford said. "Because we know we're not this bad. It was a rough year for us, and next year will not be like this."
Rookie Alan Anderson scored a season-high 18 points and Jake Voskuhl added 17 points and nine rebounds for the Bobcats.
Charlotte won its third straight and improved to 5-3 in April, clinching the first winning month in franchise history. The Bobcats also completed their first season sweep of an East team.
"We go out and play hard every single night," Voskuhl said. "That's the one thing that we do every night. We may not win the game, but we play hard and have fun."
Crawford scored 24 points and Eddy Curry had 16 for the Knicks, who shot 51 percent but committed 17 turnovers - just shy of their NBA-worst average - that led to 20 points for the Bobcats.
The Bobcats dressed nine players, and among those who weren't available were leading scorer Gerald Wallace , top rebounder Emeka Okafor and assists leader Brevin Knight .
New York was missing Stephon Marbury , the team leader in scoring and assists, plus Steve Francis , Jalen Rose , Channing Frye and Quentin Richardson .
Fittingly, they had plenty of ugly moments in this loss. Jackie Butler missed a wide-open layup in the second quarter, and Curry had a shot attempt hit the padding underneath the backboard in the fourth.
Both teams were 11-of-19 (58 percent) in the first quarter, which ended with New York leading 27-26. But the Knicks committed eight turnovers in the second period, leading to 12 points as the Bobcats took a 55-49 lead into halftime.
"We had one turnover the first quarter, and then I think we had nine or 10 going into halftime," Crawford said. So that's stuff we've got to shore up in the summer."
Charlotte missed its first eight shots in the second half, allowing New York to take a 56-55 lead on Malik Rose 's free throw just under 5 minutes into the quarter. Voskuhl's basket with 6:40 left in the period ended the Bobcats' scoreless drought and put them back in the lead, which they extended to 76-69 on Voskuhl's jumper with 4 seconds to go.
The Knicks got as close as 91-88 in the closing minutes after consecutive jumpers by Crawford, but Felton scored on Charlotte's next two possessions to put away the game.
Even though he wasn't coaching, the loss goes on Brown's record. His worst season was in 1988-89, when he went 21-61 with San Antonio. ... Charlotte tied its longest winning streak of the season. The Bobcats also won three in a row in February. ... The Knicks finished 15-26 at home, their worst record since the 1985-86 team had the same record. "When you play here in the Garden, it always has that special quality to it," Bickerstaff said. "The ghosts are still here. We try to remind the young guys that this is a great stage to perform on."