Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek doesn't want to hear about Courtney Lee's late techincal foul costing his team the game. They shouldn't have been in that position in the first place.
The Knicks looked lackadaisical throughout the 105-99 loss to the Grizzlies Wednesday night. It wasn't until the fourth quarter that New York started showing some life, and giving Memphis something to worry about. However, Lee was hit with a tech after exchanging words with rookei Dillon Brooks before at jumpball with 17.8 seconds left. The Knicks were down three at that point, but the technical killed any hope of them completing the comeback.
Hornacek didn't want to talk about the technical foul and whether it was appropriate to call it after the game. Instead, he pointed at his team's lack of drive from the beginning, which in his mind, led to the bad loss.
"They won the tip anyway," Hornacek told The Post's Marc Berman. "That had nothing to do with this game. It was from the start. We talked about setting the tone. We came out and I'm not happy with not closing out on guys, giving guys easy shots."
The Grizzlies were ranked 12th in the Western Conference heading into the game with a 14-28 record. But what made the loss even worse was the fact they were down three starters in PG Mike Conley, F Chandler Parsons, and C Marc Gasol. It should have been an easy start to the Knicks' six-game West Coast trip, but instead, they began with a dud.
That isn't to say the play of the Grizzlies was lacking. Forwards Jarell Martin and JaMychal Green were stellar in this contest. Green tallied a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds, while Martin had 17 points off the bench. Veteran G Tyreke Evans led the pack with 23 points as well.
"These guys have been stars at college," Hornacek said of the Grizzlies. "They all have great confidence. If you let them get going, it's hard to shut somebody off. We let them get going early with no defense and we're down 18. Now all of a sudden [in the fourth] we want to play defense. That's what we should have been doing from the start."
The only thing Hornacek wants his team to do now is use this game as fuel for their next one against the Jazz on Friday night.
"They got to take that anger they had in the locker room after the game into the next one," he said. "Talk is cheap. You got to go out there and lay it on the court. That's the desperation. They played with desperation when down 18."