Paul Millsap, Hawks outlast Carmelo Anthony, Knicks 142-139 in 4 OT (VIDEO)

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ATLANTA (AP) Paul Millsap made the decisive basket in a four-overtime game that lasted almost four hours and proclaimed it to be great fun that he never wants to experience again.

Millsap had a season-high 37 points, including the go-ahead layup with 27 seconds remaining in the fourth OT, and the Atlanta Hawks overcame Carmelo Anthony‘s season-high 45 points to outlast the short-handed New York Knicks 142-139 on Sunday.

Millsap logged 60 minutes, which were especially taxing due to his time defending Anthony.

“There was no chance I was coming out,” Millsap said.

Millsap had 19 rebounds, setting another season high, and seven assists.

“That was fun,” Millsap said. “I don’t want to do that again ever, but it was fun.”

Asked to summarize the game, he said, “I don’t even remember.”

The Knicks’ first four-overtime game in 66 years included five players, including Anthony and Atlanta’s Dwight Howard, fouling out.

Anthony scored the tying baskets at the end of regulation and the first overtime period, before fouling out with 12.9 seconds remaining in the second overtime.

Anthony said it was “difficult” to watch the last two extra periods.

“Those are the overtimes where you’ve got to dig deep,” Anthony said. “You’re exhausted, you have to find something from somewhere. But to not be out there in that last overtime was a little difficult to watch. Especially knowing the flow of the game. That was a moment I wanted to be out there.”

The Knicks also had starters Kristaps Porzingis and Joakim Noah foul out. New York still found ways to match the scoring from Millsap and Kent Bazemore, who had 24 points, including the Hawks’ first eight points in the fourth overtime.

“Good thing we don’t play tomorrow,” said Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek.

The loss was another blow to the Knicks’ hopes of moving into the Eastern Conference playoffs.

“These guys have fought all year,” Hornacek said. “Things haven’t gone our way but they never give up.”

Courtney Lee made a 26-foot tying 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds remaining in the second OT and sank the tying free throws late in the third extra period.

The Knicks held out guard Derrick Rose, who sprained his left ankle in Friday night’s win over Charlotte.

Dennis Schroder made one of two free throws with 10.2 seconds remaining in the fourth overtime, leaving the Knicks a chance to extend the game yet again. Lee missed a last-second 3-point attempt on what he said was “a great look.”

“It’s draining, man, but it was fun,” Lee said. “You can’t hang your head about this one. We competed.”

Schroder had 23 points and 15 assists for Atlanta.

Brandon Jennings had 18 points as the fill-in starter for Rose. Lee added 17.

TIP-INS

Knicks: Porzingis fouled out with 15 points with 1:30 remaining in regulation. … Anthony, who set a franchise record for points in any quarter with 25 in the second period against Washington on Jan. 19, had 17 in the first quarter. … Backup Kyle O'Quinn also fouled out. … Noah had 14 rebounds.

Hawks: Howard fouled out in the second OT with 19 points and 13 rebounds. … G Lamar Patterson, signed to a 10-day contract, was in uniform but did not play. He played 35 games with Atlanta last season. … G Gary Neal‘s 10-day contract expired. … Tim Hardaway Jr. started for F Thabo Sefolosha (groin) and scored nine of his 19 points in the fourth quarter.

FOUR-OT HISTORY

It was the Knicks’ first four-overtime game since Jan. 23, 1951, when they lost at Rochester. Atlanta’s last four-overtime game was a win over Utah on March 25, 2012.

ROSE MAY MISS MORE GAMES

Hornacek said Rose also likely will miss the team’s game at Washington on Tuesday and possibly more.

“I don’t want to say because you never know with an ankle,” Hornacek said.

Rose said the ankle “feels better every day.”

“I just have to take my time with it and listen to my body and I think that’s what I’m doing right now,” Rose said.

FLAGRANT FOUL

Howard was assessed a Flagrant 1 foul for knocking Porzingis to the court on a dunk by Porzingis midway through the third quarter. There was a lengthy delay as officials reviewed the play and Porzingis received congratulations from teammates for the slam over Howard.

UP NEXT

Knicks: Visit Washington on Tuesday.

Hawks: Visit Miami on Wednesday.

Report: Knicks to discuss coaching vacancy with Hawks’ Mike Budenholzer

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Mike Budenholzer is restless in Atlanta, seeing a rebuild coming and looking at other jobs (something Hawks management is fine with). He went down the road a ways with the Suns before pulling out of that process, but he’s still looking around.

The Knicks are casting a wide net in their search, talking to virtually everyone looking for coaching jobs.

So, this seemed inevitable, right? Budenholzer and the Knicks are going to talk, according to Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

This will be very preliminary. The Knicks have already had some level of conversation with Mark Jackson, David Fizdale, Jerry Stackhouse, David Blatt, Mike Woodson, and TNT analyst Kenny Smith (Jackson and Fizdale are the rumored early leaders). Budenholzer has established a style and culture in Atlanta, giving the franchise a path forward. New York could certainly use that.

However, the Knicks job comes with real challenges, too. That starts with James Dolan as owner and the erratic, at times paranoid culture he has created there. Also, expectations in New York are always high, but the team will be without Kristaps Porzigis for at least half (maybe all) of the upcoming season as he recovers from an ACL injury, and that puts a ceiling on the team in the short term. Is all that worth leaving Atlanta for?

 

Stephen Curry to begin “modified” practices with Warriors

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Golden State has flipped the switch in the first round, going up 3-0 on overmatched San Antonio. The Warriors have been outscoring the Spurs by 20.2 points per 100 possessions in the series, allowing less than a point per possession on defense and scoring when and where they want. Kevin Durant is averaging 27.3 points per game, Klay Thompson is shooting 63.3 percent from three and scoring 25.7 points per game, and the Warriors are clicking.

But they are not yet whole — they need Stephen Curry back. Not for this round, but before the Western Conference Finals for sure.

Curry was re-evaluated Friday and will begin practicing with the team in a limited — or “modified” to use the team’s term — way.

The target has always been a return somewhere during the second round, and that still seems to be on track. That is also a little faster than traditional for a Grade 2 MCL sprain, which can take up to two months to heal (not the 4-6 weeks of the Warriors timeline), but the Warriors are being cautious here for now.

Eventually, the Warriors will need him back — their offense is built around Curry and his ball movement and movement off the ball. Curry’s gravity to draw defenders, even when he doesn’t have the ball, opens up the floor for others. Put simply, if he’s 28 feet from the bucket on the weak side defenders still have to watch and be near him, and help defenders need to be aware, which pulls the defense to wherever he is. Without Curry and the Warriors take more midrange jumpers, it’s just in the first round series against the Spurs they are hitting them.

 

Kenyon Martin: I once played high

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Former NBA commissioner David Stern said the league began testing for marijuana because players complained of other players playing high. Chauncey Billups said he knew teammates who played better high.

But Stephen Jackson is the rare former NBA player who admitted to playing high.

Now, he has company.

Kenyon Martin – who played for the Nets, Nuggets, Clippers, Knicks and Bucks in a 15-year career – via Bleacher Report:

We were playing in Indiana one day. I wasn’t feeling well. I had a hamstring, a hip or something. So, I smoked. I wasn’t going to play originally. So, we got to the arena, and I’m like, “I feel good.” I went and told the trainer, “I’m going to go today.” I went out there and had a great game.

If you want to guess which game this was, here are the possibilities.

This was part of a great feature on marijuana in the NBA and NFL. Matt Barnes, Al Harrington and Gary Paton also participate. I highly recommend (pun intended) watching it in full.

Nuggets president Tim Connelly: Next season playoffs or bust

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The Nuggets have steadily improved over the last four years – 30-52 to 33-49 to 40-42 to 46-36.

But even 46 wins weren’t enough to get Denver into the playoff this season, extending the postseason drought to five years.

Nuggets president Connelly, via Gina Mizell of The Denver Post:

On if next season is “playoffs or bust”:

“I think we’re there. How many times can you be the bridesmaid? Our young core, three of our best players are 23 (Gary Harris), 22 (Jokic) and 21 (Jamal Murray), and they’ve proven they’re capable of doing it at the highest level. I think all of us are, quite frankly, sick of this time of the year having a press conference.”

There’s certainly something to be said for injecting urgency. The Nuggets are already good enough to make the playoffs. They just happened to play in a historically deep Western Conference. But that doesn’t mean they can’t take more responsibility.

Denver lost to the Hawks (twice), Grizzlies (twice without Mikey Conley), Mavericks, Kings and Nets this season. Flip any of those games, and the Nuggets would have made the playoffs.

But I’m not sure what “or bust” means.

Connelly said Michael Malone would return as coach next season. If Denver misses the playoffs, would he get fired? Would Connelly come on the hot seat? What if the Nuggets again produce a record that typically qualifies for the postseason?

Even if Denver misses the playoffs next year, the 2019-20 team would have a 22-year-old Jamal Murray, 25-year-old Gary Harris and probably a 24-year-old Nikola Jokic under contract. That’s still a pretty good place to be.

Because of Jokic’s rapid ascent, the Nuggets are trying to accelerate the timeline. They most notably signed Paul Millsap last summer. (Injury cost him most of the season and contributed to Denver falling short.) They could also emphasize the present by re-signing Will Barton this offseason.

But playoffs or not next year, the Nuggets have a bright future. Connelly just doesn’t want them leaning on that excuse, though following through on his edict could create complications if Denver again narrowly misses the postseason with a good record.