After coming back late in Sunday's game against the Hawks, the Knicks had multiple chances to polish off what once ballooned to a 16-point deficit. But from the end of regulation to overtime, New York was unable to finish Sunday at State Farm Arena in Atlanta and saw a four-game winning streak get snapped with a 140-135 double-overtime loss.
Not putting away the Hawks (15-39) did the Knicks (17-37) in once the second overtime rolled around. Despite six double-figure scorers, including power forward Julius Randle's monster double-double with a team-best 35 points and game-high 18 rebounds, the Knicks could not keep up with Hawks point guard Trae Young's 48-point outburst.
When Miller looked back on the Knicks' performance against the Hawks, a common theme to come up throughout the first half of the 2019-20 season resurfaced.
"We've been in a lot of these games and you've got to, as you go through it, deal with it either way and be able to learn from it and be able to move forward," Miller said. "It's a lot easier to learn from it when you have a chance to win and move forward, but we had some opportunities. To start with the positives, we got down a couple different times and had to come back a long way, put ourselves in some good positions there. We had some guys make some plays to get us a chance because it looked like we weren't going to have a chance and then we had some really good performances, particularly as we went through the fourth."
The Knicks' largest lead peaked at 15 points, 37-22, when center Bobby Portis knocked down a pull-up jump shot from eight feet out with 10:32 left in the second quarter. However, the Hawks stormed back into the game and the Knicks entered halftime up just 63-61.
While the edge turned into a double-digit deficit, with the Knicks trailing 94-83 at the end of the third quarter, they came back from 14 points down in the final nine minutes of regulation. Randle was big for the Knicks all evening, highlighted by his tying the game at 116-116 via two free throws at the 30.3-second mark, but he was unable to hit the game-winning floater with 3.5 seconds left and the action spilled into overtime.
Even to start the opening five minutes of the extra period, the Knicks took control, leading 126-118 with 1:56 left. But on Young's back, the Hawks scored eight unanswered in the final 1:29 -- including two free throws to tie the score at 126-126 -- as a second overtime ensued.
"I think it's part defense, but we've got to score in there, too," Miller said. "We got a little bit conservative when we had a lead and waited a little bit late in the clock to try to attack, and we had a couple of plays where we got there and we turned it over, we got down there and kind of knocked away, got tied up. Just some of those situations maybe put us in a better position, offensively, to help us. You have to continue to put pressure on the defense all the way. That's how we got back in the game. Our defense created the advantage by getting some steals to start that quarter. So I think a little bit of both. They made some shots, they got to the foul line and then we didn't answer with putting enough pressure on them to either get to the foul line or have a chance to score."
Shooting guard Reggie Bullock's season-high 21 points complemented Randle and the Knicks, who are adjusting to life without Marcus Morris after trading the starting small forward before last Thursday's 3 p.m. deadline. Miller has been impressed with Randle's rise, but the Knicks collectively needed more on both ends of the floor to fend off the Hawks.
"I think he did a good job," Miller said of Randle. "Obviously, he had an outstanding game. He was kind of on that track from the beginning. He was really consistent with his play tonight, played with a lot of force. I thought the guards did a good job of setting him up and getting him to his spot, so to speak, where he could make some plays."