Five observations from the Hawks’ 142-139 four overtime victory over the Knicks Sunday afternoon/evening. It was the third four-overtime game in franchise history and the Hawks have won all three. There have been 11 four-overtime games in NBA history.
1. Any question that Paul Millsap is an All-Star? Put them to rest. There was some talk that the Hawks power forward didn’t deserve to be so honored. Maybe Knicks’ star Carmelo Anthony deserved the nod. Anthony did have a game-high 45 points before fouling out after 47 minutes.
Millsap finished with 37 points, 19 rebounds, seven assists, a steal and a blocked shot in 61 minutes. He tied the franchise record for minutes played. His offensive rebound and put back with 27.4 seconds left in the fourth overtime gave the Hawks the lead for good, 141-139.
“There was no chance I was coming out,” said Millsap, who played every minute of the fourth quarter and all four OTs.
Millsap played the final 35:52 without a break.
“He seemed like he was in a good place,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “I asked him a couple times how he was feeling. He said he was OK. … He did not want to come out. I’m going with Paul in that case.”
2. The Hawks had three chances to pu 10t the game away but missed critical free throws – including two by Dennis Schroder.
Tim Hardaway Jr. missed one of two free throws with 10.2 seconds left in regulation. That made the score 104-102. Anthony hit a jumper with 2.6 left to force the first overtime.
Schroder missed the free throw after a made basket with 12.9 seconds left in the second overtime for a 123-120 Hawks lead. The Knicks tied the game on a Courtney Lee 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left.
Schroder missed the first of two free throws with 10.2 seconds left in the fourth overtime to give the Hawks a 142-139 lead. Another one possession game. Fortunately for the Hawks, Lee missed a good look at a corner 3-pointer as time finally expired.
“I’m just going to come in tomorrow and shoot free throws,” Schroder said. “It’s not going to happen again.”
3. In a game of back-and-forth swings, Kent Bazemore hit two huge 3-pointers in the fourth overtime – both answered long-range shots from the Knicks. Lee opened for the Knicks, Bazemore answered. Justin Holiday hit from 3-point range, Bazemore answered again. Bazemore also scored on a driving layup for the Hawks’ first eight points of the final overtime.
“You’ve got to make plays,” Bazemore said. “That’s what it’s all about. I was being patient. They were kind of denying me for a minute but I was able to sneak open and get some shots.”
4. The Hawks were helped when the Knicks lost Kristaps Porzingis, Joakim Noah, Kyle O’Quinn and Anthony with six fouls. Anthony fouled out 12.9 seconds left in the second overtime. The forward was much of the Knicks offense down the stretch as they went to one isolation play after another.
Anthony had his way with Hawks defenders early in the game. He scored 17 first-quarter points and 23 first-half points. The Hawks finally moved Millsap to the primary defender on Anthony. Millsap was able to slow him down – for a while. Anthony hit the game-tying baseline jumper over Millsap at the end of the first overtime.
“Try to take his space away,” Millsap said. “The one he hit on the baseline on me, I thought I did a pretty good job on him. With all scorers, at some point they are going to score the ball. He’s one of the best scorers we have in this league.
Dwight Howard fouled out for the Hawks.
5. It wasn’t just Millsap that played career-high minutes. Schroder played 55 minutes. Hardaway played 58 minutes. Bazemore played 50 minutes. All career-highs.
The Hawks have two days before their next game at the Heat Wednesday. Budenholzer said that did not factor into his decision to play extended minutes.
“If there was ever a time to have two days off, it’s probably after this one,” Budenholzer said. “When you are in the heat of the moment, you are just focused on that one and not thinking about down the road.”
Although the coach did offer a zinger in the post-game locker room, according to Bazemore.
“Coach said after the game ‘Someone should monitor your minutes,’” Bazemore said.