The Atlanta Hawks (27-20) hosted the New York Knicks (21-27) in a game where they key attributed that was tested was dexterity.
It was towards the end of the first overtime where you could see tired legs on both sides of the ball and you really couldn’t blame either team. The second test was on the players was that of mental fitness. In a game that spanned multiple overtimes, energy wasn’t the only trait pushed to the limits.
By overtime, minutes started to show and fouls started to accumulate more often than not. Carmelo Anthony had 45 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists; fouled out. Dwight Howard had a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds; fouled out. Joakim Noah had a team-high 14 rebounds and guess what? He fouled out.
Rolling into it’s fourth overtime, neither team had its starting center, and both would have to test personal will as well as their individual benches. Mike Muscala came in immediately after Dwight Howard fouled out and already accumulated seven rebounds.
While the Hawks were leaning hard on Paul Millsap and Dennis Schroder, the Knicks entrusted their offense in the hands of Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings. So much so that all three guars (plus Kent Bazemore) went back and forth raining threes in the fourth overtime to bring the game to 139-136 in favor of New York.
Although Jennings only had 18 points, he contributed to the team with 11 assists. With 2:02 left in the fourth overtime he had eclipsed 50 minutes on the floor. Schroder, Millsap, and Tim Hardaway Jr. were inching closer to one full-hour of playing time.
With a 1:23 left in the fourth overtime, New York’s Kyle O’Quinn fouled out while attempting to defend Paul Millsap.
If you could believe this, Millsap never left the floor, and even fought to take the lead 141-139 with 27.4 left in the game. I’m pretty sure after this, those trade rumors surrounding Millsap will be put to rest.
Schroder was confront with an opportunity (his second) to put the Hawks up by four points and put the game out of reach for the Knicks. But just like his initial chance, his free-throw shot rolled out the rim, the Knicks rebounded, and called a timeout. At some point, this game will have to end.
With less than 10 seconds left, Courtney Lee had not one, but two chances at the 3-pt line and missed both. His second attempt, which was wide-open, nailed the side of the rim and fell to the floor as the clock expired.
So the Hawks won 142-139 and we all hope as media and fans, the boys get a nice, extended rest period after this slobber-knocker of a match.
Photo: Hakim Wright