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Magic 117, Knicks 108: “I’m sick and tired”

Quoth Thibs this time out.

New York Knicks v Orlando Magic Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Another game, another loss. Such is life for the Knicks (17-14) these times.

New York will enjoy Knickerbocker basketball 41 days this regular season but Friday wasn’t one of them. And the inhabitants of Gotham might be happy about it as the Knicks went on to drop one in Florida, 117-108 to the Orlando Magic (19-12).

Julius Randle’s 38 points and 12 boards for his 15th dub-dub? Wasted.

Jalen Brunson’s 20 pops on a perfect 12-for-12 from the charity stripe? Wasted.

RJ Barrett’s bounceback game including 19 points and six rebounds? Wasted.

Now, let’s get this straight: the Knicks lost a game no matter what or what not the referees called on the floor.

Something is worrying about New York Basketball. I was just thinking about the game and what has been going on of late, and I realized I no longer bat an eye at this team's hemorrhaging points on defense. The league has changed a lot, yes, and any/all teams are capable of dumping 140 points on whoever happens to be in front of them.

The Knicks haven’t had the worst-ever defense this year, let alone across the league.

  • ...have allowed the fourth-fewest 100+ points to their opponents this season (24).
  • ...have allowed the fifth-fewest 110+ points to their opponents this season (17).
  • ...have allowed the ninth-fewest 120+ points to their opponents this season (9).

December, however, has been an absolute disaster.

The Knicks have allowed the fifth-most total points to their opponents this month (1,607), only fewer than the Nets, the Wizards, the Nuggets, and the Mavericks. The problem, of course, is that three of those four teams have scored more points than the Knicks in the last 30 days while winning at least the same number of games (six, in New York’s case).

This is not even a team-to-team comparison. It’s just about the Knicks, and only about the Knicks. They have been giving up 115+ points for the whole month with the exception of three games (Dec. 1 at TOR, Dec. 18th at LA, and Dec. 20 at BKN).

Perhaps it wasn’t just about facing the likes of Boston. Also, there is no way this bunch keeps up with your Pacers (126 PPG) and Bucks (125) unless they have an extraordinary shooting outing (NYK averages 115 PPG).

On a per-100-possession basis, the Knicks rank 10th with 117.9 points. They are giving up 115.9. That’s through 31 games played. In December, however, the Knicks are scoring 120.7 but allowing folks to dump 123.6 per 100 possessions.

Just for context, the Wizards are dead last with an average of 127.7 PP100 against, followed by the Pistons (125) and the Knicks (123.6). Just saying.

On Friday, the Knicks lost the game through a mediocre-at-best, shameful-at-worst second quarter in which they scored 15 points on 21 shots (5-of-21).

“The second quarter was a problem and our rebounding wasn’t good enough,” Tom Thibodeau said after the game. “We had a chance at the end but we couldn’t get a stop when we needed.”

On the game, the Knicks and the Magic shot the same percentage: 44.2% for our boys, 44.9% for the hosts. They scored six and seven three-point shots respectively. They hit 26 and 30 freebies. Three-point shooting? 20% and 21.2% for the two. Thus, the tiny nine-point distance in the final scoreline.

But there was never a realistic chance these folks were ever snatching a win from Kia Center, Orlando FL.

“It was a tough back-and-forth game at the end,” New York forward RJ Barrett said. “I think we adjusted well in the second half, but we’ve got to start better.”

New York tied it 33-all a few minutes into the second frame. They were down 12 just six minutes later, 34-47. They came back a bit shortly after that, 44-51 with 29 seconds left in the first half. No dice.

The Magic ran the Knicks out of town to start the third when they put up 66 points on the board to New York’s 46, and the affair was 54-74 in favor of the Disneylanders with 5:47 left to play in the frame. That was it.

Rookie guard Anthony Black was the man putting the clamps—legally or not—on Brunson for the largest part of the evening. JB shot 4-for-15.

The visitors committed 30 fouls to the Magic’s 20. They allowed Orlando to grab 49 boards to their 40. Most damagingly, the Knicks allowed 14 O-boards while grabbing only six themselves.

“It’s not consistent,” Randle said. “That’s all I can say, man, it’s just not. A couple of plays before, when they called me for grabbing a guy’s arm, he pushed me in the back.

“We talked about [arm] extension last game [in Oklahoma City]. I mean, if you look at the replay, I still didn’t extend my arm. There’s going to be contact. It’s in the paint, it’s a box-out, there’s going to be contact. He sold the call. It’s just the consistency. I know they have a tough job.

“So I’m not going to sit here and kill them about what they’re doing, whatever they’re doing. Just a little bit more consistency would be appreciated.”

Anyway. Expect news coming from the National Basketball Association and their headquarters. Thibs ain’t escaping no fine here after his postgame comments and quitting the presser minutes into it.

“I am so, like, what this guy is going through is ridiculous. Ridiculous,” Thibodeau said.

“You’re getting hammered time after time, I’m just getting sick and tired of it,” he added.

“I watch. I send it in. I see it all. And it’s—they’re fouls. It’s plain and simple, they’re fouls and there’s no other way to say it, except they’re fouls. They’re fouls.

“No one drives the ball more to the rim than this guy does. And if you rake across his arm, you rake across his arm. And if you hit him in the head, you hit him in the head. Those are fouls. Those are fouls. [I’m] sick and tired of it. Sick and tired of it.”

Consider Thibs the new AI. We’ve gone this far, fam. Knicks at Pacers tonight, in the Obi-NYK reunion. Wonderful times.

Let’s crush Toppin’s mob and finish the year with a dub. Go Knicks!