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Joakim Noah frustrated by free-throw woes

Knicks center Joakim Noah looks on against the

Knicks center Joakim Noah looks on against the Utah Jazz during the second half at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

MIAMI — Right now the only thing Joakim Noah hates more than taking free throws is talking about his free-throw shooting.

Noah is shooting a career-worst 24 percent from the line (6-for-25), and has missed his last 11. The Kings intentionally fouled Noah in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game, and he bricked all four foul shots.

Noah shot over 73 percent five times in his career, and can’t put his finger on what’s happening.

“I miss them,” Noah said before Tuesday morning’s shootaround. “What do you want? What do you want from me right now? I don’t know. It’s definitely frustrating. You want to go out there and make them. Free throws. But I just got to make them next time.”

This came after several short answers about his woes at the line. Noah has a weird shot, but it’s never been this bad. He struggled last year, making only 48.9 percent in the 29 games he’s played for the Bulls. He shot a career-best 75.1 percent in 2012-13.

“I had some issues last year too,” Noah said. “I just got to make them and I will.”

Jeff Hornacek, a great shooter in his day and a former shooting coach, sees that Noah’s shot is “flat.” He’s talked to Noah about not letting it get to him because climbing a mental hurdle would be difficult.

“I think right now it’s in his head a little bit,” Hornacek said. “I think he’ll be fine. He just needs to get a couple of them to go down and then get that confidence back. We need him out there defensively.

“He needs to see a couple of them go in and I think he’ll bounce right back to shooting them pretty decent. I just told him you’re 0-for-0 from this point on. Don’t worry about what happened prior to this. We’ll see.”

Lee returns. Starting shooting guard Courtney Lee is expected to return Tuesday night against Miami when the Knicks go for their fourth straight win. Lee missed the prior two games with a sprained left ankle. He said he wasn’t limited during a Monday workout that included shooting drills, cutting, defensive slides and beating assistant coach Corey Gaines in a game of one-on-one.

New York Sports