New York Knicks: Jeff Hornacek downplays James Harden's big night
Dec 30, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek against the New Orleans Pelicans during the first quarter of a game at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek talked about James Harden’s historic triple-double after the loss to Harden’s Houston Rockets.

Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden put on one of the single greatest performances in NBA history on Saturday night against the New York Knicks.

Nobody can deny that. Apparently, there’s at least one person out there who can be less impressed with it than the rest us, though.

This individual was there, and his name is Jeff Hornacek. The New York Knicks head coach didn’t have the same admiration for Harden’s historic triple-double that everyone did.

According to Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News, while Brandon Jennings compared Harden’s night to a video game Hornacek instead decided to call out the Beard’s use of questionable tactics on offense.

“What he does, he grabs with his left arm,” the coach said. “He has the ball in his right hand and he wraps his left arm around your hand and pulls up to grab the ball. There’s a couple guys in the league that do the same move. To me, that’s an offensive foul. You can’t grab another guy’s arm. But he does it fast and quick and it’s hard to see. But he gets the calls. He’s a great player.”

Harden made 16 of 18 free throws Friday night and was fouled on three different three-point attempts.

Two of those three-point attempts were when he was being guarded by Justin Holiday, arguably the Knicks best defender. Check out this clip to see a little bit of what Hornacek is talking about.

In two games against the Knicks, Harden averaged 38.0 minutes, 41.5 points, 16.0 assists, and 11 rebounds on an incredible slash line of .548/.500/.885.

The head coach isn’t the first Knick to complain about James Harden’s offense.

After a Nov. 2013 loss, in which Harden also had 16 points from the charity stripe, Carmelo Anthony claimed the Knicks didn’t foul him. It was the refs to blame for all those free points.

He led the league in total free throw attempts last season (837) by a ridiculous margin (DeMarcus Cousins was second with 663) and is tied for first with Russell Westbrook in the same category now.

During Houston’s run to the Western Conference Finals in 2014-15, led the league with 178 free throw attempts.

Some people think that Harden is one of the smartest players in the NBA and getting to the line is his greatest strength. Others think his dependence on the whistle is a weakness both individually and for the Rockets.

Either way, the way he plays basketball bugs people. Including Jeff Hornacek.

  • All of my stats come from Basketball-Reference unless otherwise noted.
I'm ESNY's Executive Editor for I cover the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. Email: Chip Murphy covers the NBA for Elite Sports NY. You can find him on Twitter @ChipperMurphy.