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Hornets 125, Knicks 114: “Better luck next game!”

Play-in hopes now on life support.

Charlotte Hornets v New York Knicks Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Five a.m. emergency rooms. Too many magic mushrooms. The phone call that knocks you to your knees. Know what burns into your brain while they’re happening? The nothing things. The flavor of gum you were chewing when the surgeon came into the waiting room. The song that was on the first time your heart broke. Who can imagine what we’ll remember when it all goes to hell?

The 2022 New York Knicks often feel more like they’re in purgatory than hell. With their tragic number at 1 after losing 125-114 to the Charlotte Hornets, at least this season can finally move somewhere new. Where that is, what comes next...no one knows. Tonight we’re here to bury the Knicks, not to praise them.

How come New York lost? Charlotte’s 39 assists on 49 buckets, for starters. Five fingers form a firm fist.

The Hornets were up much of the night; the Knicks kept it close but never felt like a threat to take the game back. Charlotte was quicker, more athletic, better shooting, better passing. One team has some buzz going, feels like they’re entering a nice little run of years. The other is the Knicks.

New York was +3 at the foul line, +12 on 3s. Usually those numbers point to a win. Not when you finish -26 on 2s. Not when the coach of a team with a plus bench plays all five starters 34+ minutes. Not when their best player of late is on the bench the majority of the game.

This game wasn’t hopeless. It wasn’t a nightmare. The worst part was the hopelessness. There was no singularly obvious factor to explain the loss. Neither was there a sense or spark of life. There wasn’t much worth remembering.

This year wasn’t hopeless. It wasn’t a nightmare. The worst part was the hopelessness. There was no singularly obvious factor to explain the losses. Neither was there a sense or spark or life. There wasn’t much worth remembering.

This recap is shorter than usual, homage to a season that, as far as relevance/contention, was far too short. There’s another homage, not in the content but the form — the biggest reason the Knicks lost the game is the only letter in the alphabet you won’t see anywhere in the recap. Quoth Zhu: “Better luck next game!” That game is a matinee, with the Knicks hosting the Cavaliers in 59 hours. Five games to go.