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Jeff Hornacek lets Knicks players critique themselves

Knicks coach attempts to light a fire under Knicks after breakdown against the Clippers on Friday.

Head coach Jeff Hornacek of the Knicks reacts

Head coach Jeff Hornacek of the Knicks reacts during the second half against the Hawks at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 4, 2018. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Jeff Hornacek voiced his disgust with his team’s performance after Friday night’s 128-105 loss to the Clippers. He let the players do the talking Saturday.

Hornacek showed video of the Knicks’ second-half breakdown, when they allowed 71 points and put up no resistance. Instead of the coach telling them what they did wrong, the players spoke about what happened and what they could have and should have done.

“A lot of people was like, ‘I should have done this, I should have done that,’ ” Emmanuel Mudiay said. “That was a good little coaching scheme we had so we can get on each other. Nobody took it personally. Everybody was trying to be honest with each other.”

Hornacek should know pretty quickly whether his players got the message. The Knicks will play the Kings on Sunday night.

“We kind of put it on them to discuss,” he said. “I do that occasionally where instead of the coaches saying this is what we should have done or you need to be over here, we let them talk about it. That way you understand, ‘Are they really seeing it?’ ”

After the loss, Hornacek questioned the Knicks’ smarts, toughness, pride and feel for the game. It was as fired up as he’s been all season.

The Knicks (24-39) let the Clippers get whatever they wanted for most of the game, particularly the second half, when they outscored the Knicks by 26.

“They accepted being scored on without really doing anything to not let it happen,” Hornacek said.

Hornacek was a hard-nosed player who had some tough coaches, including Jerry Sloan. The Knicks’ coach wanted to see his players stand up and do something rather than allow easy basket after easy basket in transition and let DeAndre Jordan dunk repeatedly.

“I was upset,” Hornacek said. “It’s just the competing and getting after it. I think when you see something happen over and over, go knock someone over. Maybe that’s old school, I don’t know.

“When it keeps going the same way and you don’t fight to keep it from happening again, that’s what gets frustrating.”

It’s also the losing. The Knicks have dropped 11 of 12 games. Though many believe they’re in tank mode, the coaches and players are going out there to win. The Knicks may not have as much talent as many of the teams they’re facing, but they could make up for it with effort, and that’s what’s been lacking.

“Our effort [expletive],” Mudiay said. “Every man knows that. The third quarter was horrible. But some of the clips we saw — we saw good and bad — but that we messed up was lack of effort and lack of communication. It was bad, but it didn’t look as horrible as it felt.”

Hornacek said he could make a change to the starting lineup. If he does, perhaps it would be inserting Lance Thomas and bringing Michael Beasley off the bench. It would hurt the Knicks offensively, but Thomas is the better defender.

“Hopefully,” Hornacek said, “the group that gets out there [Sunday] night, the group that comes off the bench really responds and takes [Friday] night and takes [Saturday’s] practice to heart.”

Williams re-signed. The Knicks signed forward Troy Williams to a second 10-day contract Saturday. He’s averaging 8.0 points and 2.5 rebounds in 12.5 minutes in four games. After this deal expires, the Knicks have to decide whether to sign him for the rest of the season or let him go. They can’t give him a third 10-day deal.

New York Sports