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Kyle O’Quinn: Yelling back at Jeff Hornacek was in heat of moment, and I was wrong

Knicks coach and player put the incident caught on camera behind them.

Kyle O'Quinn #9 of the New York Knicks

Kyle O'Quinn #9 of the New York Knicks reacts in the third quarter against the Washington Wizards during their game at Madison Square Garden on February 14, 2018 in New York City. Credit: Getty Images / Abbie Parr

WASHINGTON — Kyle O’Quinn said he was wrong for yelling back at Jeff Hornacek after the coach screamed at him for a defensive lapse in Friday’s loss to Minnesota.

The MSG Network caught the exchange. O’Quinn appeared to be shouting obscenities at Hornacek. Both dismissed it as a heat-of-the-moment thing and said they didn’t need to talk to work anything out.

“It’s one of those if I yell at you, you at me, it’s over,” O’Quinn said. “It’s two grown men. Respect each other in our own right, and I would never disrespect a coach to the point where we have to hash it out the next day.

“It just [expletive] that it was on TV. The camera was in my mouth. We have practices and training camp, there’s a lot more said behind closed doors, but you don’t have to speak about it the next day, you just go on.”

Hornacek was upset that O’Quinn didn’t close out on a three-point attempt by Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns and let him know about it. O’Quinn responded as he was walking toward the bench for a timeout.

“It’s the heat of the game,” Hornacek said. “I thought he should have been up close on the three-point contest and he thought he was up far enough. Simple as that. That was it.

“It was over as soon as the timeout was. That happens sometimes with teams and guys want to win. That’s that.”

O’Quinn, who didn’t play Sunday because of a strained left hip, is intense and plays with fire on the court, but the backup center said this was the first time he and Hornacek ever had words.

“It’s never happened before,” O’Quinn said. “It’s just a player-coach interaction that work buddies get into, at any level. It’s not disrespect. It’s just a reaction that caused a reaction, and I’d be the first one to say that my reaction was the wrong one. I shouldn’t have come back. Just because somebody is yelling at me, I shouldn’t yell back. Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Hornacek also had a heated exchange with Joakim Noah earlier this season. Noah has been away from the team since January.

O’Quinn said his phone was buzzing after the game, and one of the first to call him was his mother.

“She don’t play that,” O’Quinn said. “She don’t play that kind of stuff. But I explained to her just like I explained to you that it was a bang-bang play. But she understood. She trusted my judgment and I told her what it is. She knows I respect Coach so there’s nothing to trip about.”

Now that he’s calmed down, O’Quinn said he has no problem with Hornacek yelling at him.

“I take that,” he said. “I like that [expletive].”

Notes & quotes: Lance Thomas returned after being away from the Knicks for the previous three games because of a family matter . . . Rookie Damyean Dotson didn’t play because of a right mid-foot sprain that he suffered in a G League game.

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