When the Knicks fell behind by 30 points early in the fourth quarter Friday night and called timeout, the low rumble of a “sell the team” chant began to mount at Madison Square Garden. And with perhaps the best performance by a member of the organization, the game operations crew started blasting loud music, imploring the fans first with a dance cam and then the oft-used prairie dog lip-syncing Freddie Mercury.
That, at least for a moment, overwhelmed the chants that have become all too common. And perhaps surprisingly, the chants didn’t make much of a comeback even though the Knicks showed little fight in a 126-103 loss to the Thunder.
After the Knicks had their smallest crowd in 13 years Wednesday against Utah, they packed 19,499 fans into the Garden on this night, although by the end of the game, about half already had abandoned the arena.
The music was raised to earsplitting decibels as the clock ticked down.
In the midst of a homestand, Leon Rose has seen just about a lifetime’s worth of Knicks struggles in his five days as team president. Garden chairman James Dolan was in his usual courtside seat, this time alongside Steve Stoute, who was hired to help with rebranding the team.
Oklahoma City’s Chris Paul had 21 points and 12 assists and didn’t commit a turnover until the fourth quarter. Former Knick Danilo Gallinari added 22 points for the Thunder. Elfrid Payton led the Knicks with 18 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Notes & quotes: Frank Ntilikina left in the second quarter with a strained right ankle. He appeared to land awkwardly while dribbling and attempting to pass on the move and then fouled Paul intentionally to stop the game. He was treated briefly on the bench before heading to the locker room. He was listed as questionable to return and was on the bench as the second half began, but he did take the court to start the fourth quarter . . . The Knicks were without Dennis Smith Jr., who missed his fourth straight game while in concussion protocol.