Spike Lee didn’t miss much Wednesday night — except a late and brief “Sell the team!’’ chant.
The Knicks superfan, who said he is boycotting the Garden the rest of the season over his sudden feud with owner James Dolan, was absent from his courtside seat as interim coach Mike Miller’s club was sluggish at the start, falling behind by 17 in the first quarter. The Knicks never could get over the hump in a 112-104 Garden loss.
The loss broke a two-game Knicks winning streak that few knew existed thanks to it being overshadowed by Dolan forbidding Lee from coming into the Garden via his favorite employee/media entrance Monday.
There were lot more empty seats than usual Wednesday, especially in the upper reaches. Despite its gaudy 39-22 record, Utah is 29th in road attendance. The Knicks are amid a five-game homestand in an eight-day span, so something had to give. According to Garden officials, it is not believed the soft turnout was coronavirus-related.
It was also the first defeat in the Leon Rose Era that began Monday. The new president has settled in and is already giving input to Miller despite the Dolan/Lee furor.
“We talk about a wide range of things and what we need to get better everyday,’’ Miller said before the game.
Julius Randle led the Knicks with 32 points (12 of 21). Bobby Portis added 21 points off the bench.
The Jazz were led by Bojan Bogdanovic and Westchester product Donovan Mitchell, who each scored 23 points.
RJ Barrett didn’t have much of a game, cooling off from a recent hot streak. Barrett put up 14 points (5 of 12 shooting).
The Knicks rallied in the third quarter from a 10-point halftime deficit. Barrett sank a 3-pointer and point guard Elfrid Payton (20 points, nine assists) blew past Mike Conley on a crossover move for a layup to make it 66-63 with 9:49 left in the third.
The Knicks couldn’t get closer. The Jazz responded after Portis lost the ball, springing a Utah fast break that ended with Rudy Gobert finishing a lob and getting fouled by Randle. The three-point play gave the Jazz an 87-76 lead with 2:09 left in the third. Utah led 93-78 entering the fourth quarter.
The Knicks were sluggish at the start and let the Jazz get up by 17 points in the first quarter with Bogdanovic hurting them from the 3-point line and Mitchell from inside.
After a series of scorching first quarters, Barrett was not on his game early. He committed a turnover in the game’s first minute when his pass was broken up and went scoreless in opening session.
The Knicks closed the cap to 35-26 after one and trailed 64-54 at halftime, with Randle and Portis the only reason they were in the game at all. Randle scored 17 by halftime, with Portis adding 19 off the bench. They combined to shoot 13 of 18.
Late in the fourth quarter, a “Sell the team’’ chant broke out and videos online showed a few chanting fans leaving their seats with security behind them.
However, the Knicks said no fan was “ejected or escorted’’ out of the arena. A source said security, under the code of conduct policy, talked to the fans about the chants.
The last time the fans chanted “Sell the team’’ was Jan. 29, and The Post reported then a teenage fan was escorted from his seat to a room for questioning.