The Knicks returned home Monday night with no more ambiguity about their season. A futile West Coast trip in which they went 0-4 stripped them of that.
No, the Knicks who took the court at Madison Square Garden against the Detroit Pistons were as transparent as can be: Their playoff fantasies are gone; Carmelo Anthony has been sitting out; and the triangle offense is now the law of the land, with Coach Jeff Hornacek stating it would be fully enacted next season.
That is the kind of clarity a winless four-game trip can provide. And now the focus turns entirely to the future.
Their 109-95 victory over the Pistons amounted to a momentary stumbling block — a rare win that tripped up the Knicks in their pursuit of better lottery odds. Derrick Rose scored 27, Kristaps Porzingis had 25 and Anthony added 21 on a night when all three of the team’s stars were rolling. The win did little but probably disappoint some fans.
“That’s understandable,” Hornacek said. “When you’re not in the playoffs, everyone wants to know, What’s the best draft pick? It’s hard. Players don’t want to lose; coaches don’t want to lose.”
He added, “Sometimes it may work out for you if you just play and get some good karma.”
The Knicks now have eight games remaining to position themselves for next season, a posture that has become familiar.
Anthony did not play the final two games of the trip, and his status beyond this year is now even more uncertain. He began the trip by signaling his fondness for Los Angeles — a city that was rumored as a possible destination for him before the trade deadline — and acknowledging…