As interim head coach Mike Miller noted after Sunday's game, the Knicks missed out on opportunities to put the Hawks away at State Farm Arena, where New York ran out of gas in Sunday's 140-135 double-overtime loss to Atlanta.
Still, the Knicks (17-37) fell victim to quite the personal performance from the Hawks (15-39).
Second-year point guard Trae Young dropped a game-high 48 points on 13-of-30 shooting, going 6-for-13 from behind the three-point arc and sinking all 16 free throws he attempted, to thwart the Knicks' comeback bids and lift the Hawks.
"When you've got that lead late in the game and you feel like you should've won in regulation, and they get it and sent it into overtime, it kills momentum," said Young, an All-Star selection for next Sunday's game at the United Center in Chicago. "And that's what they did, they kind of took a lot of energy out of us. But we found a way to keep battling, keep making shots and get stops on defense."
Young wasn't alone. Power forward John Collins added a 32-point, 16-rebound double-double to complement Young as the Hawks rode their starting lineup. Of the five players in double figures, they saw starters such as small forward De'Andre Hunter and shooting guard Kevin Huerter add 19 and 16, respectively, while center Dewayne Dedmon pitched in 10 points off the bench.
The Knicks received an indomitable effort from power forward Julius Randle, who paced the team with a monster double-double on 35 points and a game-high 18 rebounds. But where exactly Young edged Randle came down the stretch. And Young made a habit out of getting to the line -- something Miller noted after the game.
"Those long ones where he pulls up and shoots it -- you live with those," Miller said. "It's the 16 free throws is what's difficult. And that, really, the big thing is this is a very effective paint-scoring thing and we didn't take away the paint enough through the first three and a half quarters. So we put ourselves in a tough spot. We were not only chasing him around and dealing with the different coverages, but we were giving up the stuff at the basket. So our coverages were a little bit loose at times on the back side that we were going to live with anything except those lobs and we gave up too many of those and had to dig out of it and try to come back."
The Hawks went 28 of 31 (90.3 percent) from the charity stripe while the Knicks were 18 for 25 (72.0 percent) in the same department. As an 84.5-percent free-throw shooter, Young made the difference for the Hawks and put the Knicks away.
"It's not tough when you practice it as hard as I do with free throws," Young said. "I actually feel like I should be shooting better free-throw percentages this year. It's just concentration. Free throws are the easiest shots to make in basketball and all it takes is concentration and I just practice."