When the Knicks extended their lead to 27 points late in the second quarter at home against the Wizards on Wednesday night, the more compelling plotline was how many points Tim Hardaway Jr. would score rather than who would win.
Hardaway broke out of his slump and went into halftime with 32 points. But he'd score just five more points as the Wizards stormed back to beat the Knicks 118-113, the Knicks largest blown lead since the stat began being tracked in 1991-92. The loss was painful, and Enes Kanter was embarrassed at what happened.
"It's just tough, man. And it's embarrassing. It's on all of us," Kanter said, via Fred Kerber of NY Daily News. "We just need to figure it out. We weren't having fun like we did in the first half. We just need to play like we did in the first half."
Kanter enjoyed personal success on the night, finishing with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Amid the Knicks eight-game losing streak, Kanter has averaged 17.3 points and 14.3 rebounds per game.
"It's tough because you're up by 20-something," Kanter. "You're up that many points, especially in the third quarter. We need to figure it out. We need to be ready. We need to bring the same energy like we did in the first half. We cannot stop in the second half."
According to Kanter, the Knicks simply relaxed after getting a big lead.
"No energy, man. No energy. I don't know if you're loose enough or not loose enough," Kanter said. "I don't know if we don't have the same energy. We relaxed," Kanter said. "I think we relaxed that was the most terrible thing we did."
The center tries to keep the energy, even when he's on the bench, but the message didn't get through to the team.
"Even when I'm on the bench I'm trying to fire guys up, I'm trying to bring energy," Kanter said. "When we have a basket, I'm yelling, I'm screaming. But I think everybody has to do that."
Kanter and the Knicks are next in action after the All-Star break, on February 22 against the Magic. The Knicks currently have the league's ninth-worst record.