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New York City Mayor’s Race Intensifies

The Times’s Scott Cacciola and Sopan Deb write:

Ashley Nicole Moss did not have much of a choice when she was growing up. Her father, Jeff, was a Knicks fan, which meant that she was a Knicks fan, too.

For part of her childhood in Brooklyn and Queens, Moss, 27, found that rooting for the Knicks was not such a horrible thing. When she was especially young, the team often made the playoffs and even advanced to the N.B.A. finals in 1999, which she said was among her earliest memories as a fan. So she was unprepared for the subsequent two decades, which were largely a wilderness of losing and dysfunction, of failed hopes and shattered dreams.

“It’s been a lot of disappointment and a lot of frustration,” said Moss, who is a co-host of “KnicksFanTV” on YouTube.

All of which has made this season — this glorious season — so much more special for fans like Moss. The Knicks have engineered a comeback story, sending their long-suffering fans into a fervor. While the Nets, over in Brooklyn, are brimming with high-priced talent as a championship favorite, the Knicks have gone from punchline to playoff contender in the space of several thrilling months.

“God forbid, if we win, we are going to burn this city down,” said Daniel Baker, a Knicks fan more popularly known as Desus Nice on the late-night comedy show “Desus & Mero.”

“Sorry, I’m just letting you all know,” he added.

The Knicks, with the second-lowest payroll in the league and a roster almost devoid of stars, will open their first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks are seeded fourth in the Eastern Conference after finishing with a 41-31 record in the regular season.

It’s Monday — take a shot.

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