After another close game slipped away from the Knicks, head coach Jeff Hornacek knows his squad needs to get better at finishing games.
It has been a common theme for New York all season: The games are close in the fourth quarter, but in the end, the other team walks away with the victory. The same can be said about last night as the 15-27 Bulls came to Madison Square Garden, and stole a win from the Knicks.
The Knicks got off to a hot start, which has also been a theme, as an 11-point lead came their way early in the first. However, they found themselves just forcing the first overtime late in the fourth quarter. After fighting to force a second overtime, Jarrett Jack, who had a triple-double, couldn't hit a three-pointer to keep the game going.
"I know in today's games leads come and go, but against a team you're equl to when you get a lead at home, that's when you have to put the hammer down," Hornacek told Newsday's Barbara Barker.
Jack also understands the necessity of finishing games if the Knicks want their playoff dreams to come true. He believes the entire team, including himself, needs play with intensity throught the game -- not just when they need to battle back.
"We have to do that, regardless if we're winning or we're down, we've got to understand there has to be a sense of urgency for us every possession," Jack said, noting the team can be laid back at times. "I'm not looking at anybody, I'm looking at myself first and everybody else, you know what I'm saying?...Everybody has to step it up one more notch, that's what it's going to take to get to where we want to go."
At the end of the day, though, the Knicks are exceeding the expectations of many who saw them as a group strictly in the rebuilding process.
"I think they're probably doing better than anticipated," Hornacek said. "The guys have great confidence in themselves. They believe they can win every game, which is a huge start."
The start isn't the Knicks problem, and Kristaps Porzingis says last night was a perfect example of why they can't turn their great starts into satisfying finishes.
"It's a bad feeling. We weren't able to finish the game," he said. "We had many opportunities. We forced tings, didn't take the right shot, turned the ball over or missed shots. It's all of those things."
At the official midway point of the season, the Knicks are 19-22 and sitting 10th in the Eastern Conference.