Nightmare first quarter leads to ugly Knicks loss


Sometimes during this wait-til-next-year season, it’s hard to judge a Knicks loss, but Sunday’s was unmistakably an embarrassing stinker. And in Tim Hardaway Jr.’s words, “It sucked.”

The Knicks heard their first boos of this developmental season when the first-quarter horror was over. It got worse as coach David Fizdale suffered his most horrific defeat since coming to New York in a 115-89 blowout to the young Magic.

“This is like the most disappointing [loss]all season,” Hardaway said after shooting 2-of-12 for seven points. “Leaving Toronto wanting to come home and knowing we don’t have a lot of home games this month, it sucked. It sucked coming out here and stinking up the Garden. We can’t let that happen again. Just can’t.”

The Knicks fell behind 10-0, didn’t score until five minutes into the contest, trailed 30-10 after one quarter and were down 33 early in the fourth period against a club that hasn’t made the playoffs since the 2011-12 season.

Playing with seemingly dead legs on the second night of a back-to-back, the Knicks shot a hideous 5-of-28 from 3-point range in falling to 4-10. The Magic moved to 6-7, but are not expected to be a playoff club.

Knicks signee Mario Hezonja, who played the last three seasons for Orlando, said he felt embarrassed getting torched by his old club.

Modal TriggerTim Hardaway Jr.
Tim Hardaway Jr.Anthony J. Causi
“It hurts, terrible,’’ Hezonja said, who shot 3-of-9. “I want to congratulate them. They did an amazing job, but we just altogether were not on the same page. I know we’re the youngest team in the league, but we have to have pride and fight out there.”

It was a nightmarish evening for almost everyone in the newly unveiled “City Edition” navy uniform, but especially the starting backcourt as Hardaway struggled and Frank Ntilikina played a pitiful first six scoreless minutes before being benched for the evening.

Hardaway took ownership of the unsightly first quarter.

“I put that on myself,’’ he said. “It was my fault. I got to do better coming out of the gate. All the guys look at me at both ends. I didn’t deliver.’’

Fizdale has been light in criticizing the club, even after its 16-point loss in Toronto on Saturday, but had a little more of an edge Sunday.