Jared Jefferies (15 points, 7 rebounds) was terriffic in his 2nd game in a New York uniform, as the Knicks hammered the Hawks, 94-82 at the Garden last night in a contest marked by sooo much 4th quarter garage time. How much, you ask? Jerome James was on the court for nearly 10 minutes.

Typically, the New York Post’s Kevin Kernan refuses to see the 9-15 Knicks’ defeat of the 8-13 Hawks as any sort of turning point for the franchise.

Asked yesterday by beat writers about Jim Dolan’s Monday comment – “I believe this could be the team that ultimately can compete for a championship” – Isiah showed how blinded by the light he really is in his own down-is-up world.”If we continue to do as good a job with Eddy [Curry], then you’ve got the 5 and the All-Star,” Thomas began, laying out his championship thought process, starting with the center. “My blueprint when I’m looking back at my Indiana team, you make an All-Star, then you make a defensive player, you get somebody on the all-defensive team. Then somewhere along the line we’ve got to make another [All-Star] from this young group, then you can talk along those lines. I don’t think we’re that far away.”

Not that far away from a championship? Only in a light years kind of way, I-Man. Thomas must have thought he was talking to Dolan, who eagerly laps up all this garbage.

So we’re smack in the middle of Isiah’s Eight-Year Plan to Success. The Knicks can’t even get out of their own way in the Atlantic, which is the worst division in NBA history, and yet, down the road, they have “a shot” to win a title, something they haven’t done since 1973.

Before last night’s win, Isiah was at it again, singing his celebration song. “We have a nice young core,” he said, “… we’re not that far away from being a very good basketball team.”

There’s the problem in a nutshell. Thomas actually believes this team is on the way to great things. The best thing last night was the defensive energy brought to the floor by Jared Jeffries.

A team with a sulking point guard isn’t winning anything, though, and while we’re at it, can Starbury please lose that Towel of Death? Every time he drapes that towel over his head he is telling the world to get lost.

With Denver, Golden State and Boston still being mentioned as possible trading partners for the Sixers, the Miami Herald’s Dan Le Batard is pleading for the Heat to make a run at Allen Iverson.

I’d trade Jason Williams, James Posey, Udonis Haslem, Dorell Wright and a future No. 1 for Iverson. You can’t get him cheap. It has to sting a little to outbid other contenders. But you have to do this with your head, not your heart. Never mind that no one wants to lose the hustle of Haslem, the grit of Posey or the future of Wright. You can’t get Iverson for Michael Doleac and Chris Quinn. We tend to fall in love with what we have instead of the unknown — that’s why too many people thought Caron Butler and Lamar Odom for O’Neal was too much once upon a time — but you are getting the best of any basketball trade that brings you back the best player in said trade.

There’s about as much chance of Philly accepting such a package (man, who wouldn’t want to see J-Will playing for the Sixers) as D-Wade retiring tomorrow to spend more time with Stan Van Gundy’s family.

Over at ESPN.com, former Sixers coach Jim O’Brien describes Iverson as “very likable to be around, fun to be around,” and promises that A.I. is “going to bring a tremendous amount to a team that is positioned to go deep in the playoffs.”

Of course, O’Brien also adds that he considers the best fit for Allen to be, “a metro area like Boston, fairly close to the casinos.”