Just a day after David Fizdale was fired as their head coach, the Knicks still had a game to play against the Indiana Pacers, and although they put up a valiant effort, it wasn't enough to come away with the win.
Down 104-98 with 5:17 to play, the Knicks played astounding defense and managed to shut out the Pacers the rest of the way. But unfortunately for New York, they weren't able to get anything going on offense, scoring just five points in that span on 1-14 shooting.
The game came down to a pair of free throws from Julius Randle after he was fouled with 0.1 seconds remaining and the Knicks down two. After hitting the first one, Randle flicked his wrist a bit to hard and the ball bounced off the back rim and out, ending the game 104-103 in Mike Miller's first outing as interim head coach.
"It was a great game to watch," Miller said at his first ever post game press conference. "The effort was incredible. ...We saw a lot of things in that game. The one thing I think we did see was a level of consistency, which we talked about earlier. So really proud of the effort, pleased with the effort, we put ourselves in a great position. You get yourselves in those games, you've got to make another play."
"We had opportunities. that must've been a two-minute possession that we had at one point. So love the effort, that was fun."
That "two-minute" possession Miller is talking about actually only lasted 47 seconds, but it was one that saw the Knicks miss five shots after grabbing four offensive rebounds--three by Randle.
Plays like those that see players missing layups and shots in the paint will need to be cleaned up as the Knicks move forward with their season.
I think at the end the teams were really going at each other, it was really physical, it was really aggressive," Miller said. "...I thought from an offensive standpoint we got some good shots throughout the game, and just some that didn't go that on another day 10 more of those shots may go.
"We did clean up some defensive things, we did a better job later of cleaning that up. We gave up some coverage type things in the first half that we didn't so much in the second half, so I think that's part of the numbers too."
With Miller only given about 24 hours to prep with the team in between Fizdale's firing, his promotion and the game, the new head coach mentioned that the team only made some small changes before tip-off.
"There were just minor things that we looked at," Miller said. "And I think a lot of it, I'll give the credit to the players. How they came out, how they approached the game and how they sustained it and played at a consistent level, that's really what I saw."
Considering the pair of blowouts the Knicks dealt with the last two games prior to Saturday night and the firing of their head coach, the players certainly handled everything well and put together a solid performance.