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Saturday night won’t go down in New York Knicks lore as one of the best evening’s in franchise history, it resulting in an embarrassing 129-97 loss to the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City.
To say it didn’t sit well with Enes Kanter would also be a vast understatement.
After starting the previous 19 games for the Knicks, Kanter came off the bench behind second-year man Luke Kornet for the second consecutive game and his performance pretty much mirrored that of the Knicks, as a whole.
Kanter went scoreless in 17 minutes and missed al six shots he attempted. He had four rebounds and three assists. Kanter played only 14 minutes in a loss to Milwaukee on Thursday night and finished with eight points and five rebounds.
“I don’t understand,” he said, per ESPN. “This is too early in the season to shut me down. My goal is to go out there and try to be an All-Star this year. That was my goal. But now, look at the situation. You can’t do anything about it. You’ve got to stay positive. Just got to stay positive.”
New York (9-28) is now tied for the second-worst record in the NBA with Phoenix and lost for the seventh consecutive time and for the 12th time in the last 13 games.
The Knicks trailed the Jazz (18-19) by as many as 46 points Saturday night. Its 37-point halftime deficit is the second-largest in franchise history.
“It’s embarrassing,” Kanter said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re on the road or we’re at home. We’re down by like 40 or 50. It’s very embarrassing. I understand we want our young guys to get better. But it’s very painful to watch it.
“I try to stay positive and help the young guys get better, but like I said, I have no idea why they’re doing that.”
A free agent this summer, Kanter is making $18.6 million this season for New York. He is averaging 14.3 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 26.6 minutes in 37 games (23 starts), shooting 54.3 percent from the field and 84.3 percent from the free-throw line.
“I just want to go out there and play basketball,” Kanter said. “I want to win. I don’t know why they’re shutting me down. I just want to go out there and win. It doesn’t matter starter or come off the bench.
“I think every player’s job to just go out there and fight every minute on the court. That’s what I want to do. Just want to go out there and just play basketball. So I don’t understand why they’re shutting me down.”