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The Knicks played harder under new interim coach Mike Miller, but Julius Randle couldn’t hit the free throw.
In a dramatic finish, Randle was at the line with 0.1 seconds left and trailing by 2. He hit the first one, sending the crowd to its feet. But the second shot bricked off the back of the rim, sending the Knicks to their ninth straight defeat, 104-103, the day after David Fizdale was fired.
The Pacers are an overachieving playoff contender at 15-8, but were also on the second night of a back-to-back after flying Saturday morning from Detroit. They also didn’t have their leading scorer and point guard as Malcolm Brogdon was out with a hand injury. The Knicks had an opportunity Saturday largely because of their scrappy defense, but their execution faltered offensively.
They missed 14 of their last 15 shots, including six consecutive to end the game. Randle was fouled after grabbing a rebound off a blocked shot.
“Just to start with, the focus on (Saturday night) with what we’re going to go into, it’s going to be really what the game calls for,” he said. “What do we need? Everybody’s ready. We believe in everybody. It’s going to be what we need for this game. Who can help us build this thing through this game? One game at a time. As cliché as that sounds, that’s really what it is. It’s been one day and that’s where it’s at.”
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