A day later, Tim Hardaway Jr. was willing to accept the blame. He faced the music 24 hours after his late-game miscue contributed to a dreadful loss to the Hawks and and pointed the finger at himself, for his shooting woes and Sundays costly mental mistake.
These last two games are definitely on me, Hardaway said Monday following practice. Had a chance to seal the game in Milwaukee [on Friday], didnt do it. Had the opportunity to bring the ball [out] previous game against the Hawks, didnt do that as well. If I did, some of the clock wouldve probably went down, and we had an opportunity to win the game.
Hardaway is in the midst of a shooting funk, 5-of-33 over the past three games and 1-for-15 from 3-point range. He went 1-for-14 from the field Friday in a last-second loss to the Bucksand shot 3-of-9 on Sunday. But it was his decision to shoot with under a minute left following an offensive rebound and the Knicks up four that contributed to the defeat. Hardaway, who called it a bonehead play, then promptly blew off the media Sunday, drawing more criticism.
I got the offensive rebound, felt like there was a little bit of contact, so first instinct as a scorer, shooter, put the ball up, he said. But I have to be smarter than that. I have to be a lot smarter than that as a ballplayer.
Thats on me, thats not on nobody else but myself. I watched film of it, got better from it, learned from it, and moving forward.
Hardaway has refused to use rust as an excuse. His mind-set is to work through his struggles. But the time off he missed 20 games with a stress reaction in his lower left leg seems like a factor to coach Jeff Hornacek. While he performed well initially upon returning, he has looked off of late.
When someone is out six weeks theyre going to come back and have to shake the rustiness out, the coach said. For our schedule when he came back, its not a lot of practice days. With limited minutes youre trying to find that flow. But hell get it back.
Hardaway also addressed reporters at the beginning of his interview session and explained his behavior, apologizing for not talking after the loss he helped create.
My emotions definitely got the best of me, Hardaway said. Just an emotional game, and I just wanted to win really bad. Its nothing personal.