Carmelo Anthony sits out the final game of the Knicks poor season in Indiana.
INDIANAPOLIS — The latest incarnation of Knicks futility died off Tuesday.
The season finale — a 102-90 defeat to the Pacers played without Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis — mercifully ended their campaign with a 32-50 record, a remarkable feat of ineptitude considering the team was at .500 after 44 games.
Phil Jackson’s triangle-inclined franchise has accrued a 49-115 record in his first two full seasons as team president, the worst two-season stretch for the Knicks since Hubie Brown was coach.
It is the seventh time the Knicks have lost 50 games or more since Patrick Ewing was traded in 2000. Interim coach Kurt Rambis finished 9-19 since taking over for Derek Fisher. The Knicks players were in a jovial mood in the locker room afterwards, with a feeling similar to the last day of school. There’s a lot of uncertainty — from the interim coach to the seven potential free agents — but most of the players and staff, including Rambis, carried smiles.
Robin Lopez gets off a shot during Tuesday night’s finale.
“I’m just one of those people who look on the bright side of everything,” Rambis said. “Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. I’m not going to worry about it. I want to be the head coach here. I think we can continue to get better as a ballclub and we can continue to improve but that’s a decision that’s out of my hands.”
Two of the most encouraging performances came from Anthony, who held up well following knee surgery, and Porzingis, who emerged as a Rookie of the Year candidate after being booed on draft night. Anthony, whose team finished 0-10 when he didn’t play this season, praised himself for playing unselfishly. He averaged a career-high 4.2 assists and was the only player in the NBA to lead his team in points per game, rebounds and assists.
Porzingis missed the final seven games of the season because of a shoulder strain. He averaged 14.3 points.