Knicks fans received a gift of sorts late Christmas Eve in the form of a promise from team president Phil Jackson -- one delivered not through a chimney but via Twitter.
Using the hashtag "knicknation," he sent out two tweets to his 770,000 or so followers that combined read thusly:
"Merry Christmas to all and Peace on earth. Please be assured your hopes and wishes are getting through to Santa. He will bring a better 2015 than 14.
"The effort and skill of our team will grow as the players learn how to play with and for each other."
Perhaps, but Jackson said nothing about the final four games of 2014, starting with Thursday's visit by the Wizards to Madison Square Garden.
Things certainly did not get better in the Knicks' 50th Christmas game, which they lost, 102-91, in a contest marred by a flagrant foul by Quincy Acy against Wizards star John Wall that led to an ejection and blunted a brief rally.
It was the Knicks' sixth loss in a row and 16th in 17 games. They are 5-26 -- three more losses than any other NBA team -- with road games against the Kings, Trail Blazers and Clippers up next before Jan. 1.
Asked afterward about fans who live and die with the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony said, "Look, the fans are dying, but we're dying. We're out there, we're not producing. We didn't expect -- I didn't expect -- to be sitting 5-and-26.
"As much as I feel for the fans, I feel for us going through it, too. I don't expect anybody to feel sorry for us. I don't expect anybody to feel sorry for me. But I feel what the fans are feeling."
No one associated with the franchise feels good about a team that continues to stumble in historic fashion. And seeing Wall and the Wizards (20-8) come to town didn't help.
Washington led by as many as 14 points in scoring 34 in the first quarter, during which Wall had nine points and six assists. The Wizards led by 16 at halftime and by as many as 22 in the third quarter.
Like most NBA teams, the Knicks had trouble corralling Wall, who penetrated with ease and added a 360-degree spin move around Jason Smith for a spectacular basket off the glass. He finished with 24 points and 11 assists.
"It's something I practice all the time," Wall said. "I was happy to pull it off."
Said Knicks coach Derek Fisher, "Obviously John was the catalyst, but it wasn't the type of individual performance we could not have overcome if we played better."
Anthony finished with 34 points but had a dry spell in the third quarter after scoring 21 in the first half. He said Washington did a good job of double-teaming and trapping him.
Jose Calderon scored 16 points and had four assists.
Along the way the Knicks heard boos from the sellout holiday crowd. Jackson sat among the fans in his usual seat.
To be fair, he did not specify when in 2015 things will get better. But January looms.
Told after the game about Jackson's tweets regarding a better future, Anthony said, "If he said that, then he feels that way." Then Melo noted there is precious little time to make it come true, saying, "2015 is in a couple of days."
Happy New Year?