I’m sure there’s a more exasperating player in the NBA than the Knicks’ Jamal Crawford. But probably not one that I see nearly as often. The final minute of last night’s 109-107 win at Denver was a terrific case in point ; Crawford had already gone nuts for 17 points in the 4th quarter (he’d eventually finish with 35 for the night) but not before turning the ball over with the game tied at 106 and less than 30 seconds left, on an errant pass to Stephon Marbury.

Crawford would steal the ball back from Eduardo Najera and hit a three from about 30 feet out for what proved to the be the game-winner. The Knicks’ bullet-dodging wasn’t quite complete until J.R. Smith botched a putback of a ‘Melo foul shot that would’ve otherwise tied the game.

For Newsday’s Alan Hahn, the glass is half full.

the Knicks seem to be developing a nice core of hardworking players who seem to have no quit in them. I™m talking about determined players such as David Lee, Quentin Richardson, Nate Robinson and Crawford. I was thinking during the game that the Knicks, at least, have a strong supporting cast. Now what they need is a star-quality player, such as ˜Mello, who could carry the load.

I can’t complain much about the work ethic shown by the players Hahn mentioned, but with the team stuck in cap hell, a star player should be arriving right around the same time Isiah gets flowers and a candygram from Anucha Browne-Sanders.

Other than the Rumsfeld resignation, file this one under the week’s least surprising stories : K-Mart is damaged goods.

Crawford’s steal-and-three were my fave highlight from Wednesday, but Delonte West’s OT buzzer beater against Charlotte was a close second. Fox Sports’ master of manufactured outrage, J.T. The Brick, was incensed that Boston’s radio crew would use the term “Celtics Nation” in their postgame rapture. I wish I could tell you everything J.T. had to say on the subject, but I had to bail about 20 seconds into his rant. I need every brain cell I can keep these days, thank you very much.

LeBron James took an early exit — about 13 seconds early, in fact — during Tuesday’s OT loss
at home to the Hawks, a move that begged comparisons to Randy Moss during last night’s “SportsCenter”. Stephen A. Smith, asked what to make of James abandoning his team, insisted that LeBron was “a good teammate” and the other Cavs “hadn’t lived up to their obligation” by playing such a shitty game.

While an isolated act of frustration by James shouldn’t be enough to characterize him as a crap teammate, Smith’s suggestion that Cleveland needs to assemble a squad James can be proud of, is kind of amazing. Does he need a better supporting cast? Absolutely. Can he find it within himself to not show up his coach and teammates by walking away before the buzzer? You’d hope so, but who amongst us can’t sympathize with wanting to get away from Damon Jones as quickly as possible?