NEW YORK --Brandon Jennings summed up the Knicks' 121-107 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers succinctly and bluntly on Monday night.
"That's the worst we've looked this season," Jennings said after the Knicks fell to a Lakers team that had dropped 12 straight road games before Monday's win.
The point guard, his teammates and head coach Jeff Hornacek all pointed to a lack of effort after the Knicks (22-31) lost for the eighth time in 11 games.
"You can't coach effort and energy. That's something we should all have," Jennings said. "We all make millions of dollars playing this game, so the least we can do is go out there and play hard every night. Regardless of who's making shots or anything like that, just effort and energy, just leave it all out there on the court."
The Knicks have dropped 17 of their past 23 and are in 12th place in the Eastern Conference, a far cry from what players expected after team president Phil Jackson traded for Derrick Rose and signed Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee in the offseason.
Hornacek was as upset as he has been all season after watching the Knicks fall behind by as many as 27 points to a Lakers squad that had lost 16 of its previous 17 road games.
"You've got to play for some pride," the coach said after the game. "If you're just going to come out and just play basketball, then you're in the wrong level."
Carmelo Anthonyoffered his take.
"Pride, effort, however you want to put it, it just wasn't there," Anthony said. "My word is effort. Coach's word is pride. It just wasn't there tonight."
On Tuesday, Lee apologized to Knicks fans for the club's performance.
"Last night that effort was pretty bad, man," Lee said at practice. "Definitely got to apologize to the fans and everybody that spent their hard-earned money to come watch us play. We definitely didn't show up and compete at a level that we needed to compete at to win the game, especially in the situation we're in right now and where we're trying to go."
The Knicks have had discussions with several teams about trading Anthony in recent days, and Hornacek admitted that it initially might have affected some players. Jennings said Monday the club couldn't use that as an excuse for its poor performances.
"It doesn't matter," Jennings said of the trade rumors. "... That was embarrassing. To get embarrassed like that in front of the home crowd, I don't know what else we want. We get support. We get fans. We just got to play with effort. We just got to play like it means something. I just feel like we just don't have no sense of urgency."
Second-year Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis said teammates don't trust each other often enough on the court, an issue that impacts the club on each end of the hardwood.
"We don't have that trust. Some games we do, some games we don't. Some games we have that second effort, some games we don't, like today," he said.
Porzingis was asked why the team hasn't yet developed trust in one another.
"If we had the answer, I would tell you something. But it's just not there," he said. "It's kind of everybody for [themselves] a lot of times -- both ends of the floor. So I wish I had the answer."