Paul Millsap to the rescue.
The Hawks nearly lost to the Knicks after two defenders covered Carmelo Anthony and left Derrick Rose an open lane to the basket. Millsap came over and blocked a Rose layup with 5.9 seconds left and the Hawks held on for a 108-107 victory The Knicks in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day matinee Monday at Madison Square Garden.
The got two more chances at a game-winner on offensive rebounds. Anthony missed with 3.9 seconds left and Joakim Noah missed a tip with 2.0 seconds left. Dennis Schroder finally captured the rebound and the Hawks had a victory.
“It was a defensive lapse,” Millsap said. “Rightfully so. Melo has hit some big shots. If you are going to guard anybody, send two guys at him. I saw it and made sure I was there at the basket.”
The Hawks trailed by five points with under four minutes remaining. They tied the game, 103-103, after Schroder hit a pair of baskets and Tim Hardaway Jr. hit a 3-pointer in between. Rose hit a pair of driving layups, the second giving the Knicks a two-point lea, around two Millsap free throws.
Schroder hit a 3-pointer, on an assist from Kris Humphries, with 22.4 seconds for the game-winner.
The mad scramble would ensue to secure the win.
The Hawks (24-17) won for the ninth time in the past 10 games, including sweeping back-to-back afternoon games. They tied their season-best seven games over .500 at the season’s halfway point.
Schroder finished with a team-high 28 points. Hardaway had 20 points, including 16 in the second half. Both players had nine fourth-quarter points. The Hawks, playing without Dwight Howard (rest), also got 14 points and seven rebounds from Humphries. He was 3 of 3 from 3-point range. Millsap had 17 points, seven rebounds, three steals and three blocks. Kent Bazemore finished with 16 points.
The Knicks (18-24) have lost five of the past six games. Anthony led all scorers with 30 points.
The back-and-forth first half featured 16 lead changes and 11 ties. No team led by more than six points in the opening two quarters. For the game, there were 21 lead changes and 14 ties.
The Hawks used an 11-2 run to start the third quarter and took their biggest lead of eight points. They entered the final quarter with an 88-83 advantage as Kris Humphries hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final minutes.