A slight distracting from the continued ascension of PG Jeremy Lin was Knicks fans’ continued verbal abuse of Jared Jeffries during Monday’s win over Utah. Jeffries, who continues to struggle offensively from close range while performing much of the team’s dirty work on defense. is an undeserving target in the eyes of head coach Mike D’Antoni, as the New York Post’s Marc Berman explains.

“Indulge me for a second, anybody who boos Jared Jeffries has got to reexamine their life a little bit,” D’Antoni said following the Knicks’ 99-88 win over the Jazz at the Garden. “I love our fans and I like Madison Square Garden, the arena, but here’s a guy who came back to us, minimum contract. He could’ve gone to a lot of other teams. He plays as hard as anybody could possibly ever play, with injuries, everything you ask him. He takes every charge, every dirty play, every rebound. He works every second.”

“I’ll die for him,” an appreciative Jeffries  said. “I’ll leave blood on the court … because he’s the best coach in the NBA.’’

Fans are hard on Jeffries because he was a nonentity in his first stint after Isiah Thomas gave him the full mid-level exception in a $30 million deal. Jeffries was also the goat in the Game 2 loss in Boston in the playoffs for going up meekly and blowing a game-tying layup in the final seconds.

“There are people that look at that and go, ‘Well, I think I’ll boo him.’ I have a hard time believing that,” D’Antoni said.