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Clippers 144, Knicks 122: “Can we just end the game?”

Defense? What defense?

There have been a lot of feelings shared by the Knicks (14-11) fanbase following the trouncing of New York at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers (15-10) on Saturday, a game ending in a depressing 144-122 final score.

Most of those thoughts, however, have to do with only a few particular topics and developments we got to watch (or not because it was a freaking 10:30pm tip-off...) happen yesterday.

I just went through yesterday’s Game Thread comments section, and this is what I think I got, on top of the actual quote by JalenBrunsavior I used for the headline.

One thing is clear, and it is that we definitely didn’t host a comment-party filled with a pleased crowd in the comments, amirite?

Josh Hart got canned and became the first Knicks ejected from a game this season, Julius Randle got himself a tech while Terance Mann escaped the same fate, the zebras allowed the Clippers to hoist 30 shots from the charity stripe in the first half alone, so on and so forth...

Just to name a few of the most-talked-about events of the night.

It’s hard to argue against any of those things not impacting the game, but the Knicks also did all of the damage to themselves. And hey, it’s not that the writing has not been on the wall for a minute now.

Since limiting the Toronto Raptors to 106 points on Dec. 1, New York has given up 146, 133, 130, 117, 122, and yesterday 144 points to their rivals. That’s 792 total points against in six games for an average of 132 per contest.

The Knicks are dumping buckets in bunches themselves (755 points scored in the same six-game span), mind you, but you’re not going to win with such a putrid defensive effort.

“Right now no one is playing great defense,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We got to fix that as a group.”

On the season, New York is scoring 114.5 while allowing 111.8 points per game. Positive difference! They also have a net rating in the green, outscoring opponents by 2.7 points per 100 possessions.

One day after dumping a ridiculous 42 points on the Suns on Friday, in one quarter; the fourth, to make it all more damaging and grab themselves an upset (on paper) win, the Knicks didn’t top 33 points in any single frame yesterday. The Clippers, on the other hand, scored 35+ points in each of the first three quarters and added 30 in the final stanza while walking.

Such was the distance between both teams, that Josh Primo got five minutes in his Angeleno debut and Taj Gibson got to play six himself.

This coming on the end of a back-to-back pair of matchups, one staged in ‘Zona, the next one in Cali, surely didn’t help. Brunson was never going to put up another 50. The Knicks were never going to keep shooting 60% from the floor and nailing shots nearly at the same clip (58%) from beyond the arc.

From that to giving up 30 freebies in a half, shooting 47% to the Clippers' 57%, getting outrebounded by three, and only dishing 20 assists to Los Angeles’ 36... Sheesh.

I guess the All-Star Clippers came to play on Saturday compared to the last time both squads met on the day James Garden first donned L.A.’s threads.

To wit: Kawhi Leonard scored a game-high 36 points, Paul George (who was questionable to play just a few hours before tip-off) downed 25, Harden added 10, and both Ivica Zubac and Mann hit 13 apiece. That’s 97 points scored by the starters (in 144 combined minutes; none topped 31 MP) already.

The Knicks starters scored 22+22 courtesy of Brunson and Julius Randle, saw RJ Barrett and Donte DiVincenzo bag 18+18, and got a seven-point contribution by big boy Jericho Sims in 18 minutes.

At the half: 77-66, the third-most points ever allowed by a Knickerbocker squad to an opponent in a single half. No joke, folks. The league scoring is booming and even the Pistons (well, maybe even the Pistons on an extraordinary day) can dump 150. But 77 at the half, 144 at the end in a non-overtime game... seriously?

That has happened exactly 92 times since the start of the century. Our Knicks just made the list! Also: the balance (.003) in those games is 3-89. Tough to win playing defense that way!

Josh Hart left the game after eight minutes of play. Miles McBride played 11. Ryan Arcidiacono got three and Gibson logged six.

“Great players always figure it out,” Thibodeau said. “Those guys have played together before so I felt like, okay, this should be or will be a pretty easy transition for them. They’re all high-IQ guys.”

Thibs was talking about the Clippers’ superstars. You know what? Let’s move on and hope the next time he utters those “great players always figure it out” words he’s talking about our superheroes and not about some other dudes.

No traveling ahead with the next game taking place inside the same Crytodome on Monday night. Knicks at Lakers. Tip-off at 10:30 p.m. You’ll be forgiven if you miss it.