Eight points is all the New York Knicks could muster in the fourth quarter of last night’s 108-81 loss to the Chicago Bulls. Are they fizzling out?

By Israel Gonzalez

At this point in the NBA season, the New York Knicks find themselves in a precarious position. During the off-season, the Knicks “rebuilt” their roster.

Only they did not.

They signed plenty of career role players, and desperately wanted to turn them into the Robin (not Lopez) to Carmelo Anthony’s Batman. It has not worked.

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Speaking of Robin Lopez, he is being paid $54 million over four years to average seven points and five rebounds per game.

Not exactly inspiring stuff.

What plagues these New York Knicks isn’t just Lopez, though. It is their complete inability to get major contributions from anyone during these horrid fourth quarters.

At one point last night, the Knicks were down 25-8, and trailed 34-18 after the first quarter. They would come back to lead by two in the third quarter. In the fourth, the Knicks were outscored 31-8. Those eight points represent the Knicks’ worst fourth quarter output in 70 years.

In last night’s game, the New York Knicks were outrebounded 54-42. They were out-assisted 27-16. Furthermore, they made seven less free throws than the Bulls. When Carmelo Anthony was on the floor, the Knicks were outscored by 18. When Arron Afflalo was on the floor, they were outscored by a staggering 34 points. The only Knicks player that had any sort of positive effect on the team was Lance Thomas, who was at a +3.

For a team that hasn’t had consecutive winning seasons since the 1999-2000 season and the 2000-2001 season, has a career losing record, and sits 12th in the eastern conference, the New York Knicks might be on the verge of a complete meltdown.

The Knicks’ problems begin with some kind of allergic reaction to playing well in the fourth.

If games were three-quarters long, imagine how much better the Knicks would be. For Coach Derek Fisher, the Knicks have to find a way to weather that fourth-quarter storm.

“We don’t want to be front-runners — guys who can play hard when things are going well,” said Fisher to Marc Berman of the New York Post. “We don’t want to be a team when it starts to rain a little bit, we give in. I thought we gave in a little bit there in the fourth quarter.”

Fisher summed up the Knicks’ troubles perfectly.

The problems go well beyond giving in. It is much more complicated than the New York Knicks not showing up at the end of games. Looking up and down their roster, there is one thing that stands out. Aside from Carmelo Anthony, there is no one on the current roster that can be that closer that the Knicks have sorely lacked.

The great Eminem once rapped that “it’s no movie, there’s no Mekhi Phifer.” Well, this is not baseball. There is no Mariano Rivera for these New York Knicks.

Last night’s loss was the 2,743rd in the history of the New York Knicks, not including the playoffs. They have won 2,684 games of a possible 5,427 games, for a win percentage of .495.

Ouch.

The New York Knicks are going to have to start playing well in the fourth quarter soon, or risk missing the playoffs for the third straight year and the 11th time in the last 15 years.

Gentlemen, don your paper bags.

Next: More problems plaguing the Knicks? 

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Israel Gonzalez was born in the greatest borough that New York has to offer, The Bronx. Originally a Mixed Martial Arts writer, Israel started covering NY sports less than a year ago, which is only fitting given his ties to New York. Israel’s favorite NY teams, in no particular order, are the New York Yankees, New York City FC, the New York Jets, and the New York Knicks. He is looking forward to the next step in what has been an eventful journey.