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Derrick Rose says coach Jeff Hornacek “has to be on us hard about defense every day”

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The Knicks defense is bad. Everyone knows it. The only way it could get more attention is if Donald Trump tweeted about it. The Knicks are 25th in the NBA for the season defensively, allowing 107.7 points per 100 possessions. They actually do okay defending shots (teams shoot 50.5 percent eFG%, which is middle of the NBA pack) but they don’t force turnovers, are the third worst defensive rebounding team in the league and allow 14.6 second chance points a game to opponents, plus they are bottom 10 in things such as points allowed in the paint or points given up off turnovers.

The Knicks know it’s their problem, too.

Derrick Rose — who has had his strained relationship with coach Jeff Hornacek of late — wants the Knicks coach to push them harder on that end. Here’s what Rose said, via Al Iannazzone of Newsday.

“We were just talking about defensive schemes, what I see with our defense, what he thinks our problems are,” Rose said. “I just told him, it’s defense. Our defense triggers a lot of things. And I told him he has to be on us hard about defense every day. Like, beat it in our heads where we get tired of hearing him talking about it.”

“It’s not just one element,” Rose said. “It’s all of it — effort, schemes, decision-making, personnel, communication. It’s everything.

“You can tell when we’re out there. You have some games where we have everything clicking. It’s no middle ground with us. It’s either we look good, or we look quite different than that. I wanted to say another word, but quite different than that. We got to have an in-between. Then right when we’re slipping, we got to be able to let everybody be aware of that and try to fix it — not after the game, but during the game.”

I like that Rose is stepping up to be a leader on this issue. If you’re thinking about Rose going AWOL and that impacting his credibility, know that he is still respected in that locker room.

The Knicks turned their defense over to Kurt Rambis early in the season, and Rambis is a lot of things but defensive coach like Tom Thibodeau — who Rose has spent most of his career with — he is not. The Knicks are not getting better on that end, the overall defensive numbers the past 10 games mirror the season numbers (they are ranked higher because other teams slipped below them).

Those defensive issues for New York start with Rose, who has been solid navigating the pick-and-roll and sticking with his man, but once rotations kick in he floats and gets lost. Pair Rose with Carmelo Anthony (never a great defender) and the Knicks allow 109.1 points per 100 possessions. But Hornacek needs to play those two together.

The Knicks did hold the Sixers and Bulls under 100 points recently, and although there were mitigating circumstances there, maybe it is something they can build upon. Amazingly, New York is just two games out of the playoffs in the East, and if they could solidify that end of the court, maybe they could climb in.

Boston’s Jae Crowder fined $25,000, Washington’s John Wall $15,000 for confrontation

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That became an expensive conversation.

The Celtics’ 117-108 win over the Wizards this week was chippy — Otto Porter said the Celtics try to play dirty — and after the final buzzer Jae Crowder and John Wall had words, which became Crowder pointing at the face of Wall, then Wall responding in kind, then coaches and other players stepping in and everyone posturing.

Saturday, the NBA announced fines for the incident. Crowder was docked $25,000 for the confrontation and “attempting to escalate the situation after exiting the playing court.” Wall was given a $15,000 fine for his role.

These two teams meet again Jan. 24 in Washington.

Harlem Globetrotters’ Buckets sinks indoor/outdoor trick shot at Kings’ new arena

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The Kings’ new arena in the heart of Sacramento is state of the art and stunning. Taking advantage of that California weather, one end of the area opens up to create this amazing indoor-outdoor feel for the arena. It’s unique.

It also opened the door for some trick shots.

The Harlem Globetrotters’ Buckets Blakes knocked down some indoor-outdoor trick shots at the new arena. He lived up to the nickname.

Kyle Korver found groove, scored 18 for Cavaliers vs. Kings (VIDEO)

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As our own Dane Carbaugh broke down for you in video form, the Cavaliers already ran a lot of the sets that Atlanta ran to free up Kyle Korver, it was only a matter of time before the sharpshooter started to find a comfort level in his new home.

That time came Friday night.

Korver shot 7-of-10 on his way to 18 points against Sacramento. Six of his shots came as he ran off screens (via Synergy Sports) and that is where he was comfortable, as he told Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“I still didn’t know what was going on half the time, but I knew what was going on half the time,” Korver said after his 18 points helped Cleveland to a 38-34 advantage in bench scoring. “So that was really helpful.”

One thing we could see a lot going forward: Korver and Channing Frye spacing the floor with the second unit, and LeBron James getting run with that group.

“It’s something that we did a lot last year, and we want to get back to that,” said James, who tied a season high with 15 assists. “Our second unit was very good for us, not only in the regular season but in the postseason last year, so it was good to get back out there with those guys, and we had a really good feel.”

Golden State will get a good look at all of this Monday when the two teams have a rematch (and Finals preview).

Stan Van Gundy, Pistons’ players frustrated by team’s poor defense. As they should be.

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In the month of November, the Detroit Pistons allowed just 103 points per 100 possessions to their opponents.

In their last 15 games, they have allowed 113.4 per 100. Only the Nuggets have been worse.

The Pistons have gone 4-11 in that stretch, falling out of the playoffs (they are three games back of the eight seed as of this writing). Stan Van Gundy is a defense-first coach, and he is frustrated, as reported by Aaron McCann of Mlive.com reports.

“We can’t stop anybody. We just can’t,” Van Gundy said. “The first 21 games, we were the second-best defensive team in the league. And now we’re one of the worst. I’m frustrated — not with our players, I’m frustrated with myself. That I can’t figure this out. I mean, we literally can’t stop anyone. Ever.”

Point guard is Reggie Jackson (who has played better of late after missing the start of the season) echoed those comments.

“It has to be fixed — or it’s going to be a long (expletive) season,” Jackson said. “It’s been a season from hell so far. So it’s going to be a long-(expletive) season if we don’t find a way to fix it.”

So what’s the problem?

“A little bit of everything,” Jackson said. “Sometimes we have mental breakdowns. Not sticking to our principles. I think sometimes we’re not just playing simple basketball and understanding who we’re guarding or where we want to be. And I think just, too many times we’re letting our offense and a lack of making shots at times really dictate how much effort we put out on defense. We can’t do that.”

Teams have been killing the Pistons from three of late — shooting 47 percent in the last nine games —something that is a bit of a statistical fluke and will regress over time. But the problems go far beyond that.

We came into this season thinking the Pistons had a formula with Andre Drummond in the middle and four guys out, but this season that equation hasn’t added up. For example, when Drummond and Tobias Harris are on the court together, the Pistons get outscored by 7.6 points per 100 possessions. Van Gundy the coach should be frustrated, but the real work in getting this team working again may fall to Van Gundy the GM.