Jalen Brunson's 44 points carried the Knicks to a crucial win Tuesday night. Newsday Knicks beat reporter Steve Popper breaks it down. Credit: Newsday/William Perlman

GREENBURGH — With the Knicks suffering a 32-point loss Sunday and facing mounting injuries, there were a number of national analysts across the airwaves looking for a scapegoat and focusing on Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau.

The blame game centered around the missing pieces — Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, Bojan Bogdanovic and OG Anunoby — and instead of focusing on that as a reason the Knicks are forced to ask more from their remaining rotation players, the argument became one of Thibodeau wearing down his players.

“No matter how tough the Knicks are everybody gets tired, especially when you’re playing against guys who are fresh,” Charles Barkley said on TNT. “The Knicks are going to pay for this in the long run. That’s not right. Same stuff we talked about in Chicago. As a coach you have to learn from your mistakes. You can’t just run guys [into] the ground. You’re going to get hurt. That’s why guys get hurt or tired. You can’t play like that in the playoffs.”

Chandler Parsons, speaking on the "Run It Back" podcast, said, “Is it Thibs' fault? Again, this is why we were concerned initially. Because when injuries do start to happen and things linger and now guys are missing games and there’s just an obvious, glaring [amount of] huge minutes being played by them. It’s hard not to look at that, right? This is why that players’ poll came out with guys [that] don’t want to play for him because it doesn’t last . . . So yeah, in my opinion, it does fall on him."

But Thibodeau's own players insisted none of the assessments were accurate.

“You expect ignorance when people have no idea what goes on in this building,” Josh Hart said Tuesday morning. “People love to have a narrative or a label and run with it. None of those guys are here watching us practice. None of those guys are watching what we do. At the end of the day, seventh year of my career I’ve probably had more off days than I’ve had in other [years]. We don’t go contact in practice. Everyone thinks we do three-hour practices of scrimmaging.

“It’s idiotic to put on him. He’s not going to say anything about it. He’s going to take it on the chin and keep on moving. At the end of the day people are going to say things for clicks. People are going to say things that make them feel like they stuck it to him. But at the end of the day they are not in this building, they are not in that locker room. Whatever they say doesn’t mean anything. Put any of those guys in this position and see what they do.”

Donte DiVincenzo, who has seen his minutes rise to career-high numbers, echoed the sentiment.

"No, no, it's the playoffs,” he said after Sunday's loss. “Everybody across the league, the top guys are all playing high minutes and I think for us there's been different waves throughout the season where [there's] high minutes and low minutes. I think when the playoffs come the best are gonna be out there and they're gonna play.”


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