The buzz had been back, or so it seemed. Recently everyone was commenting on how the Garden was starting to sound like it did years ago, when games mattered and the home team was the attraction.

And then came the matinee massacre.

The 128-78 loss to the Mavericks on Sunday represented the worst loss the Knicks have ever had on any of the three Garden's the team has played on in team history.

The Knicks actually trailed by as many was 53 points, which was 10 points more than the previous mark of futility at MSG, a 111-68 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Jan. 21, 2002.. ..eight years ago almost to the date.

And now four of the five worst Garden defeats have taken place in the 2000s. Add a 34-point loss to the Celtics (107-73) on Nov. 4, 2006 and a 33-point loss to the Lakers (130-97) on Jan. 31, 2006 as the others.

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The 50-point loss ranks just second behind the worst loss in franchise history, which came Dec. 25, 1960 in a 162-100 loss at Syracuse (yes, Syracuse).

The Knicks, who were 20-21 at the Garden last season, are now 10-13 at home this season. They are 1-2 in this five-game homestand, with games remaining against the Timberwolves on Tuesday and the Raptors Thursday. Before a brutal month of March, which starts a run 15 of 19 games on the road to end the season, the Knicks play nine of their next 15 games at home.

In other words, they better get that buzz back. Or there won't be any in April.