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Thunder 128, Knicks 103: 'Sub [Kanter] out. He can’t play defense.'

Another big L.

NBA: New York Knicks at Oklahoma City Thunder Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

What more is there really to say at this point?

The Knicks never led tonight for a second straight game, and once again got rocked, 128-103. They generally looked disinterested in running a competent offense or defense. It just was not a fun time.

As has been the case pretty much all season, the Knicks quickly found themselves down early, giving up a 15-6 run in the first 3:30 of the game. But unlike the early part of the season where the Knicks were making fun fake comebacks every game, they just got positively shellacked through the rest of this one. They ended the first quarter down 37-22, and that deficit held (and then some) for the rest of the game.

They made one small attempt at a comeback when Frank Ntilikina and Damyean Dotson entered the game in the first quarter, getting the score to 20-18 before the Thunder went on a quick 5-0 run. That was the last time this game’s score was worth keeping track of for the Knicks.

Mike Breen said it on the telecast and the MSG crew parroted it after — these Knicks have not held a lead in any of the last ten quarters. That’s pretty atrocious. It’s understandable that this team is the youngest in the league and chock full of kiddos, but the general culture of defeat from the opening tip lately has been a little concerning nonetheless.

Let’s get into the notes and then put this third straight ugly loss in the rearview:

Mitchell Robinson turned his right ankle in this one (the same ankle that kept him out a couple games earlier in the season). It was certainly a scary sight, since nobody wants to see this kid end up with bum ankles early in his career à la Steph Curry. But he got it taped and came back in. Maybe not the wisest move on a night where he had to face off against the much bigger, much stronger Steven Adams. He did get one over on the wily New Zealander though:

Six points, three blocks, but only one rebound for Big Meetch tonight. A tough matchup combined with the injury certainly hampered his effectiveness tonight.

— Speaking of Adams, he just ate Enes Kanter alive in pick and roll early and often. You might be wondering where the recap quote came from. On this night, it wasn’t a P&T commenter like usual:

Adams attempted to walk that back, but you and I both know he meant it.

Kanter, as per usual, had his few shining moments on offense where his traditionally sound big-man footwork in the post got him some points (19, to be exact). That was about it for him tonight. He didn’t even get his VERY IMPORTANT double-double with just five boards.

Frank Ntilikina’s slump continued. For some reason, he just really doesn’t seem to be feeling that same confidence lately that we saw him play with at the beginning of the year. Four points, two rebounds, two assists for the Frenchman. He also had his usual smattering of nice defense:

Mario Hezonja’s 22 minutes didn’t really stand out to me, except for this fortuitous and nasty dunk:

Tim Hardaway Jr. started off the game chucking, but settled in as the game went on and finished with 20 points of 6-12 shooting, along with three rebounds and an assist. Go figure, he started doing better once he looked at the rim more and tried to start drawing fouls.

— Much like Adams taking advantage of his matchups with Robinson and Kanter, Paul George abused his defensive assignment, the undersized Hardaway, early and often. PG-13 had 35 points on 13-22 from the floor, but without a box score to aid me I’d have thought he made 80 percent of his shots. He was just cooking tonight.

Emmanuel Mudiay’s first start was... alright. He surprisingly hit a number of layups tonight, which normally isn’t his strong suit. He also used some penetration to try to set up some teammates on the perimeter. But then again, he also turned it over three times and didn’t exactly play lights-out defense.

Mudiay and Mitch had some interesting chemistry to start the third quarter — Mudiay found Mitch with some slightly-off alley-oop passes that turned into quick points for the rook. If the one pass had landed a little better, we may have had a real highlight reel play on our hands.

Noah Vonleh made a couple highlight plays tonight, and that was about the beginning and the end for him.

Wally Szczerbiak sat in for Clyde Frazier with Mike Breen on the broadcast today. It was... not fun. Sorry, Wally. Clyde’s just better.

— Frank and Damyean Dotson kind of were reserved for just garbage time duty in the second half, which was a shame. Particularly on Dotson’s part. His starting lineup demotion didn’t really seem as deserved as Frank’s.

Allonzo Trier did OK... 11 points of 4-10 shooting, five rebounds and three steals. Similar to Tim, he started off cold but then kind of figured it out. Trier really needs to fall out of love with the mid-range shot at some point though.

— Strangely, after playing 20 minutes in Orlando and seemingly getting some of his groove back, Trey Burke received a DNP-CD tonight. His saga has certainly been a strange one this year.

That’s about as much as I care to muse about this one. The losing’s fine, but the general lack of effort is getting a little grating. Hopefully it gets figured out next game.