GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Kristaps Porzingis already knew what to anticipate when Jeff Hornacek sat the Knicks down to show them film of them getting “manhandled” by the Thunder big men Monday. Porzingis already re-watched the game.
He said it was difficult to see it again, and to see how many times he was pushed around.
“Enough. Enough, for sure,” Porzingis said. “I have enough video for this postgame.”
Enes Kanter and Steven Adams had their way with the Knicks’ frontcourt players, namely Porzingis and Joakim Noah in the Thunder’s 112-103 win. Oklahoma City outrebounded the Knicks by 13.
Hornacek showed the video to inspire his players to fight harder and not allow teams to outmuscle them. But he said sometimes the 8-9 Knicks — remarkably — can be complacent and think they don’t have to put in extra work.
“When you get outmuscled sometimes there’s not a whole lot you can do if they’re bigger, except for fight harder,” Hornacek said. “I think for the most part our guys do play hard. Sometimes they feel their talent can just overtake things. But sometimes you get burned by it.”
The Knicks face a different challenge Wednesday when they play in Minnesota for the first of a home-and-home against Karl-Anthony Towns and the Timberwolves.
It's the first time Derrick Rose and Noah will face their former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau. Neither Rose nor Noah spoke to reporters Tuesday.
The Timberwolves (5-12) are young, athletic, versatile and play with a lot of energy. The Knicks have struggled with energy on the road, where they are 1-6.
When told Noah (three rebounds) was bothered by his performance against the Thunder, Hornacek said there was plenty of blame to go around. He said the guards have to get more involved on the boards when the big guys “are wrestling” inside.
“It was down the line,” Hornacek said. “So I expect them all to battle harder next time.”
The footage from Monday definitely struck a chord with Porzingis. He grabbed only five rebounds, and had difficulty with Kanter in the second quarter. Hornacek said Porzingis has to use his legs and “rear end” to drive guys out and not rely on his arms to rebound.
“You don’t want to be on a film after games like this,” Porzingis said. “You always look for yourself on the film, and like, It was ugly. So it was tough to watch that film. But we need days like that. We need to watch film like that to find ourselves again. Maybe that kind of burns. For me, for sure, burns on the inside and I can’t wait for the next game.”
For Porzingis, these two games are an opportunity to see how he measures up against Towns, last year’s Rookie of the Year. Porzingis was the runner-up.
Their stats are similar. Towns is averaging 21.0 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.3 blocks, while Porzingis is producing 20.9 points, grabbing 7.1 rebounds and blocking 1.5 shots. The two developed a friendship during the draft process and will forever be linked since they came in together and have been the two best players from last year’s class.
“After the first game we talked and we said we want to have this rivalry for the next 15 years hopefully,” Porzingis said. “It’s nice to have a guy like that who’s going through the journey at the same time.
“He can do anything he wants on the floor. He can shoot from outside, drive, post game, big strong rebounder . . . I really love his game, I really love his aggressiveness.”
Hornacek would love to see more aggressiveness from his players.
Notes & quotes: Courtney Lee has been wearing protective tape down his right arm because of a sprained hand he suffered Nov. 20 against Atlanta. Lee said he underwent X-rays and MRIs, but “it’s nothing too major . . . I haven’t sat out so it’s no issue.” . . . Lance Thomas (sore left ankle) participated in practice, but the Knicks didn’t scrimmage or run much.
Kristaps Porzingis Karl-Anthony Towns