James Dolan and Isiah Thomas can yack all they want about the odd sign or 2 of progress from the Knicks, but there was none evident at Conseco Fieldhouse last night. New York was soundedly beaten by Indy, 112-96, a scoreline that actually flattered the visitors. Danny Granger had a career-high 25 points off the bench as the Pacers drained a ridiculous 12 three pointers, with the Knicks’ perimeter defense proving even lamer that it was earlier in the week against the Celtics. Eddy Curry’s streak of 20 point games came to an end (10 points, 3 rebounds) at the hands of Jeff Foster (above), while Jared Jefferies — so impressive against Atlanta two nights ago — fouled out while tallying a very quiet 7 points in 28 minutes of work.

Renaldo Balkman has occasionally brought enough energy to the floor to make some of the Rodman comparisons less preposterous. But there were also stretches Friday in which he was all over the place when Indiana had possession, seemingly trying to locate who he was guarding (and sometimes succeeding by the time the ball had changed hands). If Thomas is going to accept praise for Eddy Curry’s development, it’s worth questioning what sort of tutoring Balkman is receiving.

Indy’s success at double-teaming Curry is at least partially due to Quentin Richardson hitting the showers early. Q’s back spasms forced an early exit, and his status for Saturday’s tussle with Denver is unknown.

Observe the sick line for Phoenix’s Boris Diaw from Friday : 21 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists, and all the credit in the world for the Suns’ 13th straight victory, a 105-101 home win over Golden State.

If Big Ben’s gonna pull down 27 rebounds every now and then, Scott Skiles should let him wear a headband that says “Reinsdorf Sucks Donkey Dick” if he wants to.

It’s no fun testifying to the 4-realness of the Utah Jazz if they’re just gonna blow a 16 point lead at home to the Kings. Shareef Abdur-Rahim sank the game winning 3 with less than a minute to play ; Derek Fisher and Deron Williams each hit nothing but iron in their attempts to answer in the waning seconds.

Houston’s Jeff Van Gundy might not see the bright side of tonight’s double OT loss to Lakers, but he might want to look at it this way ; it took Kobe nearly 3 hours to put up 53 points. Until Lamar Odom returns, it’s safe to presume No. 8 No. 24 is going to Phil Jackson’s first, second and third option.

The Rockets’ Tracy McGrady skipped his third game in a row with back trouble, while Yao Ming scored 35 for Houston. If you missed any of tonight’s highlight shows, don’t worry — some of the Bryant’s exploits will be all over YouTube by tomorrow morning.

Your ugly, ugly, ugly snapshot of the night : Vince Carter scoring a season low 12 points on 4 for 17 shooting in Jersey’s 90-78 loss to the Raptors. There hasn’t been a return to Toronto so inauspicious since the last Klaatu reunion gig.