This was not related to the current state of Knicks basketball but instead an arena experiment to simplify the viewing experience.
According to ESPN.com's Ohm Youngmisuk, no music blared from MSG's speakers during the first half. No recorded messages implored fans to make noise or beg their team to start playing defense. No videos distracted attendees from the game itself.
Instead, spectators listened to teammates communicating and sneakers squeaking. NBA on ESPN provided a snapshot of the venue's explanation:
Per Sports Illustrated's Kenny Ducey, the absence of added noise altered the atmosphere during pregame introductions and game breaks:
Some fans may appreciate the back-to-basics tactic. Perhaps others think it made the World's Most Famous Arena feel more archaic than the triangle offense.
Bleacher Report's Howard Beck wondered if New York was the best team to let the players try to energize the arena:
The Knicks led the back-to-back Western Conference champion Warriors by one point at halftime, so maybe they should extend the experiment.