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Jazz 117, Knicks 113: “Pack it up, throw it away, and move on”

New York Knicks v Utah Jazz Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Today, I’m stealing Monica McNutt’s extraordinary recap of the 13-10 New York Knicks’ loss at the Utah Jazz (8-16) in Salt Lake City, 117-113.

“Rhythmless performance across the board,” McNutt said. “I just wanna pack it up, throw it away, and move on.”

Mic drop, Monica.

It’s the first time this season the Knickerbockers have lost a game against a sub-.500 squad. It’s the first (and lone) time this road trip in which the Knickerbockers will face such a horrible team, as they will meet the Suns, Clippers, Lakers, and Nets in the next few days.

They will follow that up with a two-game series against the Bucks culminating in a Christmas Day matchup.

They will then embark on another three-game trip visiting Oklahoma City, Orlando, and Indiana.

They won’t return to MSG until New Year to host the Minnesota Timberwolves.

In other words: when the Chicago Bulls plane lands in Manhattan in advance of a Jan. 3 clash, it’s probable these Knicks are boasting a 13-20 record and an 11-game losing streak. No joke.

At least New York will have uber-veteran Taj Gibson available from now on, the 38-year-old having signed a one-year deal with Dad Thibs’ team to become the fourth-oldest active player in the Association.

Julius Randle made (a bit of) Knicks history on Wednesday by reaching 600 3-point shots made as a member of the organization, overtaking Jamal Crawford as he finished the day with 601 total treys in his metropolitan bag.

Randle was, perhaps, the only salvageable thing on New York’s side yesterday finishing with 32 points, 12 rebounds, six dimes, and a team-high +13 on the plus/minus column.

Immanuel Quickley, in his return to the floor having missed Monday’s matchup against the Raptors, logged a meager 18 minutes but he sounded happy with it.

“Just whatever minutes you get, go out there and be effective,” Quickley said after the game. “Whatever minutes I get, go out there and help the team win.”

Win they did not against the lowly Jazz, who returned big boys Lauri Markkanen and Walker Kessler and definitely found ways to make the most of those comebacks.

Markkanen played only 25 minutes but scored 23 points on 13 shots adding eight rebounds. Kessler played 23 minutes off the bench contributing nine points, eight rebounds, and three swatted shots.

The Knicks lost the rebound battle 46-53 and allowed Utah to grab 15 offensive boards, more than making up for their 16 turnovers (compared to 11 by the Knicks).

”We got a little momentum with the group that we finished with,” Tom Thibodeau said when explaining Quickley’s fourth-quarter limited minutes—four in the frame. “We were searching.”

Yes, New York made it a tight affair late in the game, putting up a 115-112 line on the scoreboard with less than a minute to play. The thing is, that happened only after Utah fell asleep and played to their true talent level (the one you expect from a .333 team) after getting a monster 106-89 lead with 6:22 left in regulation.

“You could say shots are not falling, whatever,” Jalen Brunson said. “We got to control what we can control and that just starts with hustle on the defensive side of the ball. We just got to be better.”

Brunson shot 6-of-19 from the field, 0-for-6 from three. Added eight assists and committed two thefts, I guess that made it all not awful?

RJ Barrett scored nine points on 16 shots, found the net on three of those attempts going 0-for-7 from range.

Josh Hart played 29 minutes, scored no points on five shots, contributed two rebounds, two assists, and a steal.

Quentin Grimes went from Bench MVP to Bench LVP scoring two points in 16 minutes and four shots, no threes, no freebies, just two boards and one dime.

Mitchell Robinson was notably missed on Wednesday after the team navigated Monday relatively nicely without him.

“Collectively, we have to pick it up. We can’t point fingers to Isaiah [Hartenstein] or Jericho [Sims]. We’ve got to basically come together as a team and be better,” Brunson said when touching on Mitch’s two-month injury.

“Just got to pick it up as a group, go from there,” added Brunson. “I mean, losing Mitch is a big loss for our team.”

Hartenstein played 29 minutes off the bench and Sims started while getting 18 minutes of run. He combined for 11 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks. The Knicks were outscored by eight points with Sims on the floor but they won the scoring battle in Hartenstein’s minutes by five points.

“Mitch is unique, [rebounding] is his strength,” Thibodeau said. “We have to do this collectively, particularly since we’re not a big team but we’re a very good rebounding team. We’ve got to make sure that we’re putting our bodies on people and then we’ve got to go fight for the ball.

“The rebounding—we’ve got to fix. Had we rebounded, we probably would’ve won the game. We’ve got to learn from it.

“We can’t allow missed shots to impact us in any negative way because oftentimes you can get going offensively, you get stops, you get out in the open floor, you get an easy shot... and now all of a sudden you feel better and you can go on runs like that. You help yourself that way.”

Josh Hart missed the game-tying three. Jalen Brunson failed to score his own three-point attempt six seconds later. Those whiffs added to a 9-of-39 shooting day from beyond the arc.

“And that was sort of the story of the game,” Thibs said. “You’re going to have nights like that.”