“I’ve had people get up at 6 a.m. and do 12-hour shifts, these people are tired.”
The New York Knicks ran out of steam in a stunning end to their season-high nine-win streak.
Their weary legs betrayed them in the second half as the Knicks blew a 16-point halftime lead falling to the lottery-bound Charlotte Hornets, who were missing their best player, LaMelo Ball.
Julius Randle, who appeared to be gassed in the second half, blamed fatigue after emotionally draining winning streaks in Miami and Boston.
“We’re out of gas, that’s it,” said Julius Randel.
That was evident in his 2-for-10 shooting in the second half. The Knicks missed all nine of their three-point attempts in the fourth quarter. They just hit 5 of 26 overall from the court, only coughing up 16 points in the final 12 minutes.
The loss also meant the end of Josh Hart’s undefeated streak with the Knicks since he reached the trade deadline.
Unlike Randle, who was clearly gassed, Hart doesn’t want to blame fatigue for their frustrating loss even if it was the obvious excuse.
“it’s the truth” He said Hart, who scored 10 points and eight rebounds in a losing effort. “But the reality is also that our job is to play basketball, and I get people up at 6 in the morning and do 12-hour shifts. Those people are tired.”
For us, we are playing a game. we are lucky. …we have to keep that straight. We have to go out and compete at the highest level. We have to make sure that we are full of energy and vitality every time we step onto the field.”
It was the opposite of what happened in the second half for the Knicks after taking a 16-point lead in the second quarter.
Without going into detail, Hart added, “Sometimes winning is a catalyst for bad habits.”
All of the effort – shooting, rebounding and defending – that had become the basis of their winning streak collapsed in the second half.
New York coach Tom Thibodeau has always warned his team about this.
“Everyone in this league is talented, so you had to play with an edge and you had to play 48 minutes,” said Thibodeau. “You see it every night. There are big threads that dissipate very quickly. That’s why you can never let your guard down.”
“It is certain that you will never feel complacent about yourself because you know what is on the horizon.”
A grueling four-game West Coast trip looms for these gassed Knicks starting Thursday against the surprising, no. 1 Sacramento Kings. 1 offense in the league.
“There’s always motivation in this league, so you can never short-cut the preparation that goes into playing every night and what goes into winning every night,” said Thibodeau. We will not be perfect [Tuesday night] We didn’t play a great game. But back tomorrow. “
Follow this author on Twitter: @tweet