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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Is Spike Lee's strange hat fetish bringing bad luck to the Knicks?

March 23, 2011 |  4:38 pm

Spike lee Let's face it. If you're a basketball fan and you find yourself watching the Knicks, one of the first things you do is check the courtside seats to see if Spike Lee is in the house. When the Celtics came to the Garden on Monday night, Lee was in his usual courtside seat, sitting next to -- of all people -- Celtics three-point shot wizard Ray Allen's mother. After the Celtics blew the Knicks out of the building, coming back from a 14-point halftime deficit and scoring the final 10 points of the game on their way to a 96-86 victory, Moms Allen leaned over and gave Spike a nice maternal "better luck next time" hug. I hope she had one left over for Carmelo Anthony, who went scoreless in the fourth quarter and caught an elbow in the eye from Celtics guard Rajon Rondo.

But the real news wasn't the Knicks loss. After all, they've been losing a lot lately, even going down in flames earlier this month to the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers. What everyone was yakking about after the game was Lee's strange winter headgear, a fleecy, neon-orange hunter's cap with big ear flaps that made him look a little like a character from a Dr. Suess book. Most people would stash the cap when the game started, but Lee, who for years would wear a baseball cap promoting his latest movie, wore the cap the entire game, as if it were some weird Knickerbocker good-luck charm.

So far, it doesn't seem to be working, since he wore the same cap to the Cavs game, which was something of a low point in the Knicks season. I guess it's possible that Lee got a haircut that he didn't like and he's waiting for everything to grow out. Or maybe he lost a bet. Or maybe he's doing a remake of "The Cat in the Hat." If anyone has a more plausible theory, feel free to share!

--Patrick Goldstein

Photo: Spike Lee taking in the action at an NBA game between the New York Knicks and the Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this month at Madison Square Garden. Credit: Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

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