Derek Fisher questions ‘character and integrity’ of players after Knicks lose to Kings by 38 points

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The Sacramento Kings are not a good basketball team. But compared to the group the New York Knicks are rolling out these days, this Kings squad looked capable of competing for the NBA title.

The Kings are just 21-37 on the season, which is a win-loss record better than just six other of the league’s teams. But they crushed New York by 38 on Tuesday, in a game where at one point they led by as many as 44 points.

Knicks head coach Derek Fisher was less than pleased with the lopsided result, and was disappointed in his team’s inability to compete, even for small stretches.

From Marc Berman of the New York Post:

“It was definitely not the level of character and integrity this group has been showing in recent weeks,’’ coach Derek Fisher said. “That was the most disappointing part. It’s not necessarily losing the game but just the way as a group, we couldn’t find a way to compete.’’

There’s some of that in a loss this big, but honestly, the team New York is putting on the floor isn’t really capable of much else.

The Knicks starting five in this one featured Lou Amundson, Cleanthony Early, Andrea Bargnani, Langston Galloway and Tim Hardaway, Jr. No one in the group scored more than seven points, and combined for 24 in total on 8-of-29 shooting.

That’s not to say this wasn’t the plan, especially once the team jettisoned Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith in a trade for literally no one in return, and Carmelo Anthony shut it down for the remainder of the season once his All-Star weekend responsibilities were finished.

All the losing will result in more ping pong balls for the draft lottery, so there is a small bright side to enduring what’s going on. But calling out the players — most of whom won’t even be back next season — seems like a waste of energy.