NEW YORK — The Knicks didn’t deserve love on Valentine’s Day.
No chocolates for Tom Thibodeau. No flowers for their defense. No cards for Immanuel Quickley.
They were again booed out of Madison Square Garden on Monday, this time after losing to the tanking Thunder in overtime, 127-123, with a defeat that underscored New York’s sad state of affairs.
The defeat was sealed 1.5 seconds left in the extra period, when Quickley, who has lost confidence in his shot and missed all seven of his attempts Monday, bricked a wide-open corner 3-pointer. The Knicks (25-32) blew it. The Thunder gave them every opportunity and they threw it away.
It was a frantic final minutes of regulation and not a good reflection on Thibodeau. The coach burned his final two timeouts — first on a pointless challenge with 1:07 left, then unnecessarily with 39 seconds remaining and the Thunder at the foul line — leaving him no way to set up the final play (a potential game-winner from Randle that clanged off the rim).
That drama was preceded by OKC’s Darius Bazley driving past Mitchell Robinson and tying the score with 5.5 seconds left. Again, the Knicks had no timeouts to advance the ball and Randle rushed his midrange game-winning attempt.
The Thunder (17-39), which owns the worst offense statistically in the league, scoring 10 points in the first three minutes of overtime. The Knicks couldn’t keep pace and their coldest player took the final shot.
Randle recorded his first triple-double of the season with 30 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists, but faltered down the stretch and fouled out in overtime.
Tre Mann and Josh Giddey led the Thunder with 30 points and 28 points respectively.
The young and talent-deficit Thunder didn’t have its best player, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who suffered an ankle injury. Like last season, the Thunder and its asset-hungry executive Sam Presti are tanking away the schedule.
His payroll is not only the lowest in the league, it’s $36 million less than No. 29 on the list (Memphis) and nearly $100 million less than No. 1 (Golden State). The average age of Oklahoma City’s starting lineup Monday was 21.6, with three rookies (Mann, Giddey and Aaron Wiggins).
It had dropped five straight coming into the Garden. Still, the collection was good enough to topple Thibodeau’s reeling squad.
The Knicks were coming off their 1-4 road trip, a disheartening week out West that buried them deeper in the standings and spanned a dead silent trade deadline. RJ Barrett was also injured midway through the trip and has missed three straight games with an ankle sprain. He was on the bench in street clothes Monday.
Rookie Quentin Grimes started in Barrett’s place at small forward and played well with 19 points.
The Knicks and Jeremy Lin have appeared to make amends.
With the 10-year anniversary of Linsanity beginning this month, the former Knicks guard appeared Monday on the MSG Jumbotron and wished fans a Happy Chinese New Year.
Lin was persona non grata at MSG for years after he signed Houston’s poison pill contract and left in free agency. Owner James Dolan reportedly felt betrayed and deceived at the time, but MSG Network began showing Linsanity games during the pandemic and, 10 years after his inspiring tale set the Garden on fire, Lin was again a spokesman at 4 Penn Plaza.
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