Were it not for some extended garbage time stat padding by the visitors last night, the Knicks would’ve suffered another blowout loss, the scoreline of their 105-95 defeat in Charlotte being somewhat deceptive as Friday’s contest was all but over early in the 3rd quarter. Sure enough, as Isiah Thomas celebrates his 4th anniversary as team president — the club having compiled a 126-200 record during his tenure — he continues to insist “we’re pretty close this year to getting back on track again.”  The New York Daily News’ Frank Isola is as incredulous as you or I.

“I like the direction we’re headed,” Thomas said Friday, before his team lost to the Bobcats. “I’ve said this before: our future is definitely much brighter than it was when I got here four years ago. Cost-wise we’re down. Talent-wise we’re up. We did a good job of putting people in the seats.”

Despite Thomas’ record on and off the court, he continues to receive the support of Garden chairman James Dolan, who has not commented publicly on Thomas since March.  Nevertheless, Thomas never misses an opportunity to talk to Dolan through the media.

“The victories will start to come,” Thomas said. “From where we were to where we are this is the time you start taking steps forward. Last year I thought we had a chance to make the playoffs. I think this year we’ll have a chance to make the playoffs. The way the East is now, there are five or six teams searching to find themselves and we’re one of them. I think there’ll be three or four of those teams that will find themselves, head into the playoffs and I think we’ll be one of them.”

If Quentin Richardson can successfully goad Isiah Thomas into committing assault in public, that will be Q’s single most valuable contribution to the Knicks since coming over from Phoenix.

Lest anyone believe the Celtics’ 25 point win over Chicago last night exposed a lack of depth on the Boston roster, Travis Best has graciously volunteered to return to America to become Doc Rivers’ missing piece of the puzzle.