With the Zen Master watching from a luxury suite high above the Staples Center floor Tuesday night, the visiting New York Knicks humiliated themselves and their new boss in a 127-96 loss to Phil Jackson’s former squad. Jackson was, as usual, frank in his assessment after witnessing the beatdown at the hands of the pitiable Lakers. Per the NY Times:
With 8 minutes 54 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Phil Jackson had seen enough. He texted his fiancée, Jeanie Buss, and agreed to meet at the loading dock inside Staples Center where their car would be waiting. The Knicks were losing by 26 points.
“It was awful, huh,” Jackson, the new Knicks president, said with a slight grin as he exited a luxury suite in the corner of the arena and took an elevator down to the floor level.
In a season full of dispiriting losses, this may have been a new low. Clinging to faint playoff hopes, the Knicks were routed Tuesday, 127-96, by the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the worst teams in the league. They fell four games behind Atlanta in the loss column for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth with less than three weeks left in the season.
The low point was the third quarter, when the Knicks allowed the Lakers to put up 51 points, a franchise-record set not by Kobe Bryant, Jerry West or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but by Xavier Henry, Kent Bazemore and Nick Young.
“Fifty-one points,” Jackson, in a dark blue suit and a striped tie, said as he arched his eyebrows. “When it’s 35 points you start to get worried. When it’s a 51-point quarter, that’s really awful.”
If the Knicks are trying to make an impression on their new boss, they did not equivocate. It will most likely be the last time he will see them play in person until they return home from the five-game swing west that began Tuesday. Jackson said he had not yet begun to inquire about coaches, scouts or other front office staff he might want to bring on. He is in assessment mode.
“We’re in a talent hunt,” Jackson said. “We have to bring in talent.”