Knicks interim head coach Mike Miller was thrust into his new role less than a full day before having to face the Pacers at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. And the Knicks actually came just a Julius Randle made free throw away from tying the game and sending it to overtime.
Since then, Miller and the team have traveled to the West Coast to begin a four-game road trip, which has given the new coach time to implement some of his own tactics.
"Without divulging anything as we go into it, we were working on some things," Miller told reporters on Tuesday at Knicks practice. "Working on the things we need to do, really get a good feel and continue to work on the consistency of how we play possession to possession. That's what our focus is."
Miller added that the players have been very good with the coaching change, saying "these guys are pros." And after a rest day on Monday and integrating Miller's "things," the Knicks will try not to fall short on the first leg of their road trip in Portland against the Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.
The Knicks will be seeing a very familiar face in Carmelo Anthony wearing his new No. 00 Blazers threads. His return to the NBA has been smooth sailing thus far, as he's become a starter with Portland, showing off his vintage scoring abilities each night.
And that's exactly what Miller's seen in the few games he's watched of Melo: He continues to score with authority.
"He scores the ball. I watched a couple of games, a few games I guess, and he's scoring the ball," Miller said about Anthony, who's averaging 15.9 points per game so far this season. "He still presents the same problems for a defense that he always has."
If the Knicks are hoping to snap their nine-game losing streak and give Miller his first win as head coach, stopping Anthony's production will be paramount. He also should have a slight chip on his shoulder in wanting to take down his former squad.
But there's also Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum to worry about. So it will be a tough challenge for the Knicks -- as it is each night -- to overcome their opponent, especially on the road.
Miller will hope his new schemes and guidance can spark something in this reeling Knicks squad.