Jeff Hornacek criticises Knicks players for "terrible defensive effort" against Clippers

Utah Jazz v New York Knicks

With the NBA season entering its final stage, it is a familiar feeling for New York Knicks fans as their team is once again not in playoff contention.

This is the fourth straight year that the Knicks are not in the race for the postseason and are effectively playing for nothing to close out the campaign.

Therefore, it won't be a surprise to see players not putting in maximum effort and being on the receiving end of some huge losses.

That was certainly the case on Friday night as they were beaten 128-105 by the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center.

New York actually went into half-time with a three-point advantage but collapsed in the second half and allowed the Clippers to score 72 points.

Head coach Jeff Hornacek ripped into his players and criticised them for not playing "tough" enough or with any "pride".

DeAndre Jordan had his way with the Knicks in the paint as he posted 19 points and 20 rebounds and Austin Rivers was red-hot from downtown as he drained 5-of-7 from deep.

Los Angeles Clippers v Cleveland Cavaliers

“No defence — we only had one quarter we kept them under 30,” Hornacek said, per the New York Post. “It was a terrible defensive effort.’’

Jordan is the only remaining member of "Lob City" after Chris Paul and Blake Griffin were both offloaded via trades.

It means more of the Clippers offence is now running through the center and he was a dominant presence against the Knicks.

He fell just one point short of a 20-20 game but that's because Doc Rivers sat him for the fourth quarter. The big man did enough damage in 28 minutes to send the visitors to their 11th loss in 12 games.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Clippers

“He’s long and can jump, and we’re not as athletic as him but you foul the guy,” Hornacek said. “We made the comment at halftime the guy had seven buckets in the first half and we didn’t foul him once.

"He’s a 58 percent free-throw shooter. You got to play smart and playing tough and not let them have easy buckets. It’s about pride. It was like a layup line in the second half. All easy stuff.”

One of the players who failed to contain Jordan, Enes Kanter, was also critical of their display on the defensive end and didn't hold back on his feelings.

Boston Celtics v New York Knicks

“The first half, we are there fighting,” said Kanter, who scored 18 points. “I don’t know what it is. We feel we can just go out there and beat a team with offence. We’re not there yet.

"We have to beat teams with defence. Tonight was terrible — embarrassing for everybody. I’m not blaming the smalls or bigs. I’m blaming everybody for this loss — and it starts with me and the starters.”

The Knicks have another 19 games remaining this year and for the sake of their fans, they should play for pride and look to end the season on a positive note.

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