Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge’s deep two-point jump shot was no good early in the first quarter but as Kevin Knox and Dennis Smith Jr. went up for the defensive rebound, the pair managed to end up tipping the ball back into their own basket.
The camera then cut to Knicks coach David Fizdale sitting on the bench who could not hide a chuckle, even though the New York natives inside MSG didn’t find it quite as funny.
The Knicks came into the clash with San Antonio with just an 11-48 record – the second-worst in the league behind the 11-50 Phoenix Suns.
New York are currently among three teams who stand to get a 14 per-cent chance of landing the No 1 pick in the NBA lottery on May 14, alongside the Suns and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are 14-46.
The fourth-worst team then have a 12.4 per-cent shot of landing first, with the fifth team coming in at 10.5 per-cent.
While they would not admit it themselves, the Knicks have clearly decided to tank this season as they look to land a top pick in the draft to go along with their free agency ambitions.
In trading away Kristaps Porzingis earlier this month, the Knicks gave themselves enough cap space to chase two players to sign max contract deals in the summer with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving thought to be their two targets of choice.
But with college sensation Zion Williamson expected to be the No 1 pick in the draft, NBA fans jokingly suspect that Knox and Smith Jr.’s own goal is in order to better their chances of being team-mates with the Duke freshman next year.
“These dudes really doing everything possible to land Zion lol,” one said on Twitter in reaction to the embarrassing error.
Another said: “Knicks really want Zion that bad.”
One NBA fan wrote: “Fizdale is smiling because that’s 2 points closer to Zion Williamson.”
“We get it, y’all want Zion,” one more reacted.
Another joked: “Taking tanking to the next level.”
One fan laughed: “This is the most Knicks thing I have ever seen.”
Despite that, the Knicks snapped an 18-game losing streak at home with a 12-point win over the Spurs.
Zion is only 18 but has lit up the NCAA this season, boasting an extraordinary highlight reel to give the Duke program real hope of a sixth title.
The Blue Devils forward has averaged 21.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.8 blocks per game as March Madness nears.
The projected No 1 pick suffered a mild knee sprain last week after his shoe ripped apart upon landing in bizarre circumstances, but it is understood the hulking 6’ 7” teenager is anxious to return to the court.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski said of Zion: “He wants to play. He loves being at Duke. He doesn’t like being injured. It’s an injury you can get over in a shorter period of time.
“There’s just a protocol that we have to go through to make sure he’s completely ready. We’re not rushing anything, so that’s why we said day-to-day because it’s literally day-to-day.”