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Courtney Lee critical of Knicks’ effort on defense

Knicks guard Courtney Lee reacts during a game

Knicks guard Courtney Lee reacts during a game against the Raptors at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, March 11, 2018. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Courtney Lee takes pride in playing defense. He said not enough Knicks do.

A day after the Knicks gave up a season-high 132 points to the Raptors, Lee said some players are letting the team down because they’re not playing with enough effort on defense.

“I think you should be mad at yourself if you watch film and your teammates are calling you out,” Lee said after Monday’s practice. “You should not want to let them down, and if you’re seeing that it’s you repeatedly, if you don’t make that adjustment, then that’s just telling us you don’t care. So I definitely at points get frustrated with it.”

Poor defense has been a main reason the Knicks (24-43) have dropped 15 of their last 16 games.

Lee, who can guard three positions, said it’s also frustrating that the Knicks are “making mistakes on basic rotations that we’ve been doing all year.”

He also said players should respond when the critiques are coming from teammates.

“It’s beneficial that you hear it from your peers and not just always from the coach,” Lee said. “It’s a long season. The coaches continue to talk to you and get on you, but eventually, human nature, you get tired of hearing their voices. When you hear it from the people you hang out with the most and talk to the most and it’s coming from them, it definitely should have more of an effect on you.”

Some of their issues could be tied to lack of familiarity with each other and the schemes. The Knicks have been using rotations they probably never imagined at the start of the season.

Five players who appeared in Sunday’s 26-point loss to Toronto weren’t on the opening-night roster. They used their 14th different starting lineup Sunday — Emmanuel Mudiay, Frank Ntilikina, Tim Hardaway Jr., Michael Beasley and Luke Kornet — and third in four games.

But Lee — who is expected to be in the starting lineup against the Mavericks on Tuesday night — said there’s no excuse for playing with a lack of effort.

“When you watch film, it’s just all effort, man,” he said. “Effort is the key to everything. It takes no talent to run from the paint out to contest a three-point shot. That’s just all effort. We have to get everybody’s effort. Everybody’s got to be locked in.”

The Knicks have played seven games since the All-Star break and have allowed at least 120 points in five of them.

“Some of it is lack of effort, and I think that’s only a couple guys maybe,” Jeff Hornacek said. “But that’s what happens: If you have one guy that’s on the court and he doesn’t do his job with full effort, it’s tough to get stops. You can’t hide guys in this league. It’s difficult. There’s a couple guys that need to pick it up. I wouldn’t say a lot of guys. You won’t hear it from me who the few are, which I know you guys want to ask. We saw it on tape. Those particular guys have to get better.”

Source: New deal for Williams. Troy Williams has agreed to a two-year contract, a league source confirmed. Williams, 23, will be signed for the rest of the season Tuesday and will get a partial guarantee for next season. He is averaging 8.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 13.9 minutes in eight games with the Knicks.

“I think he’s done a great job for us,’’ Hornacek said after practice Monday. “We’ve talked about it, what he can add. He’s athletic, he runs, defensively he’s all over the place. He can cover ground. Moving without the ball, he makes his spot-up three. Yeah, he’s played well for us.”

Enes Kanter (back spasms) and Lance Thomas (sprained right thumb) were limited in practice and are questionable Tuesday.

New York Sports