NEW YORK (AP) The New York Knicks need some new defensive schemes – or perhaps some new players.
Coach Jeff Hornacek said maybe the ones he has are ”just not capable” of defending after their 115-103 loss to the Orlando Magic on Monday night.
The Knicks have lost a season-high five straight games and the last two have been particularly ugly. They allowed a season-high 69 points in the first half to James Harden and Houston on Saturday night, then surrendered 67 more by halftime Monday to an Orlando team that isn’t exactly an offensive powerhouse.
”I think they’re trying. We might not be good defensively,” Hornacek said. ”We might have to start figuring out ways to trap and do some gimmicky defenses.”
That would only work if the personnel can execute them, and Hornacek isn’t sure they are.
”Maybe we’re just not capable,” Hornacek said. ”I don’t know. That’s what we’re going to have to figure out. We might have to play some of these other guys.”
Told about Hornacek’s remarks, Carmelo Anthony said he didn’t want to comment and preferred to ask Hornacek about them himself.
”I believe that we have the guys to do it,” Anthony said. ”We have to want to do it. If the coaches are giving us the schemes, whether we agree with it or not we have to do it. That’s what they’re here for.”
Defense has been a season-long problem for the Knicks, who put former interim coach Kurt Rambis, now an assistant under Hornacek, in charge of overseeing it earlier in the season. But the Knicks still struggle, coming into the game allowing 108.3 points per game to rank 25th in the NBA.
They hoped they would be better after signing center Joakim Noah, the former Defensive Player of the Year, in the offseason. He said he didn’t know what to say about Hornacek’s comments.
”I know I am here and I feel like this group can do a lot better,” Noah said.
”We’ve just got to stay together. We have a lot of work to do. Defensively we’re not where we need to be. We’ve got to look at ourselves individually first and see what we can do better in terms of our effort and things like that, and then it’s about being on the same page. We’re all over the place right now.”