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Thursday's Knicks News: Tough time for Kristaps Porzingis

Derrick Rose returns with 25 points, but Knicks still fall to lowly 76ers on buzzer-beater, 98-97: If there was ever a January midweek game the Knicks absolutely, positively needed to win, this was it. Instead, they lost it in the worst possible way, quite possibly at the worst moment of the season. “We should be telling ourselves this is unacceptable,” Carmelo Anthony fumed after the 98-97 loss. -- New York Daily News

Knicks hit with bad karma by playing Derrick Rose against 76ers instead of disciplining him: The New York Knicks needed the Sixers’ point guard to go AWOL on Wednesday. Karma comes in all shapes and sizes and in the final frantic seconds of a game the Knicks had to have, someone named T.J. McConnell handed Jeff Hornacek’s team the most disheartening loss of their imploding season. “This is embarrassing,” Courtney Lee said. -- New York Daily News

Derrick Rose back in Knicks starting lineup vs. 76ers after ‘hefty’ fine for going AWOL: Perhaps if he turned up in a strip club or a casino when he went off the grid this week, things would be different. But a day after Derrick Rose’s AWOL saga ended, it appears all is forgiven as Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek put him right back in the starting lineup for Wednesday’s game here against the 76ers. -- New York Daily News

‘S–t is definitely embarrassing’: Knicks cave in utter gut punch: Derrick Rose showed up, shined and still couldn’t prevent the Knicks from losing a buzzer-beating heartbreaker. T.J. McConnell scored on a spinning, off-balance 10-footer after faking out Carmelo Anthony as the Sixers stole a 98-97 victory Wednesday at Wells Fargo Center, setting off a wild celebration after the Knicks blew a 13-point fourth-quarter lead and a 10-point bulge in the final 2:30. -- New York Post

The rising Knicks brain who opted against Chasson Randle: In Clarence Gaines Jr. We Trust. According to a source, the major reason the Knicks kept defensive forward Maurice Ndour over point guard Chasson Randle coming out of training camp was the lobbying by Gaines, a trusted confidant of Phil Jackson, who has gone from an adviser to vice president of player personnel. -- New York Post

Kristaps Porzingis’ final shot could not have gone worse: All Kristaps Porzingis really had to do was hit the rim. Oh, making the shot would have been nice, but the Knicks would have settled for a piece of the rim. Or even the backboard. Just not the bottom of the net, which was all that Porzingis’ 3-point shot found with 6.8 seconds remaining and the Knicks up one. -- New York Post

Derrick Rose much angrier over retirement talk than $200K fine: Disappearing Knicks point guard Derrick Rose was fined roughly $200,000 for missing Monday’s loss to the Pelicans without notification, sources said. Coach Jeff Hornacek indicated the Knicks followed the code used for a player being suspended for one game — which is 1/110th of his $21 million wage or roughly $200,000. A source confirmed that’s the mathematical formula the Knicks used. -- New York Post

Knicks’ late collapse turns into crushing loss to 76ers: Derrick Rose was present and accounted for and showed up for the Knicks in the fourth quarter. But the Knicks’ defense and ability to hold a big lead went AWOL down the stretch. The Knicks led by 17 in the first half, 13 in the fourth quarter, and were up 10 with 2:29 left and they fell to the lowly 76ers at the buzzer. -- Newsday

Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony keeping the faith amid familiar losing skid: Carmelo Anthony feels like he’s watching the same movie over and over again, but he’s hoping for a different ending. The Knicks are struggling to find their way again, just like they have the last three seasons when they missed the playoffs. Anthony is trying to remain positive but he knows this could be the Knicks on the road to ruin again. -- Newsday

Derrick Rose scores 25 vs. 76ers, says he’s in a much better place mentally: Derrick Rose said his focus is on playing basketball, and that he’s in a much better place mentally than he was two days ago. Rose left the Knicks without telling them Monday to fly to Chicago for a “family issue.” But he went through shoot around on Wednesday morning and scored 25 points in a 98-97 loss to the Sixers on Wednesday night. -- Newsday

Knicks, Losing at the Buzzer, Are Unable to Break Their Fall: The Knicks have suffered many welts over the last few weeks, most of them self-inflicted. They have lost nine of their last 10 games. Derrick Rose, their star guard, disappeared and skipped a game, casting the organization as clown princes of the N.B.A. again. Their season, once filled with optimism and buoyed by a winning record, appears to be at a crossroads.-- The New York Times

Knicks get Rose back, but find more trouble with last-second loss: How do you know what rock bottom is if you don’t try to dig deeper? If nothing else, give the Knicks credit for throwing their shovel into the dirt and trying to find a new level. It’s not easy, after all, to top a blowout loss at home that was just a sidebar to the disappearing act of the starting point guard when Derrick Rose went AWOL and the team had no idea if he was even alive. -- The Record

Porzingis comes up empty: The Knicks got the shot that they wanted in the final seconds - an open look in the corner for Kristaps Porzingis. But Porzingis didn’t come close - air balling the open three-pointer - and finished the night 3-for-10 for seven points and just 1-for-6 from beyond the arc. Porzingis was 3-for-13 and 0-for-4 from long range Monday, causing Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek to wonder if something is off - fatigue or a lingering effect from the sore left achilles that recently sidelined him for three games. -- The Record