Steve Francis's detour to his old digs in Orlando almost caused him to miss the Knicks game in San Antonio last night. Even with his last minute arrival, though, the Knicks were no match for an actual basketball team and played just well enough to lose their 41st game of the season.
Francis went home to pick up clothes from his home. According to the Post the need was spurred by the strict Knick dress code which requires the players to wear a suit on road trips. Larry Brown explained the snafu,
"What could we have done. He had no clothes. I think we were all hopeful he'd be here, and under normal circumstances, he would have been. It was the only chance he could go home and get some clothes. Maybe if he was going to just wear a polo-shirt and jeans, he wouldn't have to worry about it, but we travel with ties and jackets."
Trouble is, Francis missed the morning shootaround he was supposed to be at yesterday and then called the Knicks to tell them he wouldn't be able to make the game. According to his agent, his 6 month old daughter was sick and, having missed all commercial flights, wouldn't be able to make the game. A flight was chartered, though, and Francis was able to make it to San Antonio to contribute 12 points off the bench in the 121-93 embarassment.
The loss made a winning record this season a mathematical impossibility and is yet another black mark in what will likely go down as the worst campaign in franchise history. Francis has appeared disinterested and disoriented since the trade bringing him to New York and with all hopes of a Garden revival on the shaky shoulders of a Francis-Stephon Marbury marriage it would have really behooved them to lighten the dress code requirement and get Francis into a practice or two. Perhaps in another town or on another team.
The New York Knicks: Last in the Atlantic Division, First on Fashion Avenue.