For the first time all season, the Knicks played a game Sunday with an unfamiliar word attached to the situation.

“It was a tough day, it was a tough night [Saturday] night,” said Carmelo Anthony, who like all the Knicks knew NBA reality had stuck a fork in their ever-so-slim playoff hopes on Saturday. “Even though you’re not playing for nothing you still, if you suit up, you still have to go out there and play ball.

“There’s so much going on right now. Me never being in this situation before, not knowing how to feel or what to feel right now. It’s going to take a minute for me to kind of decompress and kind of come back down to earth a little bit,” said Anthony, who insisted what went on this season will not determine his future.

“All this stuff will come into consideration. But I won’t never make it seem like because of this season I’m going to become a free agent,” Anthony said. “It has nothing to do with [how] this season went. Even if we had the greatest of a season I probably would still be in that situation.”

And so the first of three games in which the Knicks had nothing on the line ended as a 100-89 victory over the Bulls, who had far more at stake. Oh, there were pointless performances by the team and individuals throughout the season, but never was there nothing to play for from the Knicks’ perspective.

“Nobody was expecting this. You can point the fingers in a lot of directions,” said coach Mike Woodson, who again threw himself under the bus. “It’s my responsibility as the coach to get this team in the playoffs and I didn’t get it done.”

Anthony, who had never missed the playoffs before in his career, observed that a coach is supposed to say the things that Woodson said. And Anthony tried to shoulder blame himself — on a night an aching shoulder, or nothing to play for, could not keep him off the floor, although he did sit out the fourth quarter.