It was with some degree of desperation that the Knicks turned to Ron Baker over the weekend when all looked bleak. Faced with double-digit deficits heading into the fourth quarters of games in Milwaukee and Indiana, Coach Jeff Hornacek plugged Baker, a third-string point guard, into the lineup and watched the Knicks suddenly come alive.
Over a total of 24 minutes in those games, all in the fourth quarter, Baker had a point differential of plus-30 during his time on the court.
The effect of Baker underscores a fundamental problem for these Knicks, who are 17-20, huddled with seven other teams in the middle of the Eastern Conference. As of Sunday afternoon, they were all within four and a half games of one another for the final five playoff spots.
The Knicks have several notable deficiencies: a minus-3.1 point differential for the season, and a defense that, despite much tinkering, still allows 108.8 points per…