ATLANTA — The New York Knicks saw firsthand why the Atlanta Hawks were willing to deal a veteran point guard in the offseason and cast their fortunes with young Dennis Schroder.
The fourth-year player scored 27 points, including two clutch free throws with six seconds remaining, to give the Atlanta Hawks a 102-98 overtime win over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night at Philips Arena.
The former first-round draft choice was given the starting job when the Hawks traded Jeff Teague to Indiana. Schroder showed again why it was worth the risk.
“Dennis has the ball in his hands on a lot of our offensive possessions,” Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said. “He’s great at finding people.”
Schroder was 11 of 21 from the field and 4 of 6 from the line. He had five assists and two steals, with only two turnovers.
Atlanta led by as many as six points in overtime but could not put the game away. The Knicks cut the lead to 98-97 and had a chance to win with 16.2 seconds left, only to have Derrick Rose lose control on a drive under pressure from Atlanta’s Thabo Sefolosha.
New York had to foul and Schroder made two free throws with six seconds remaining. The Knicks inbounded to Kristaps Porzingis, who was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer. He missed two of the three free throws with 3.6 seconds remaining, leaving the Knicks with a two-point deficit.
Atlanta’s Paul Millsap iced the game by making two free throws with three seconds left.
“Obviously, a lot of guys played well. … Dwight (Howard) on the boards, Dwight with some big free throws, Dennis and Paul with the two free throws at the end,” Budenholzer said. “It’s a good win. The more close games we can win, we build some confidence in those situations.”
Atlanta (16-16) got 16 points and 22 rebounds from center Dwight Howard, 13 points from Kyle Korver, 12 points from Millsap and 11 points each from Sefolosha and Kent Bazemore.
New York (16-15) got 26 points from Rose and 24 from Porzingis. Joakim Noah and Justin Holiday scored 14 points each.
“We took the challenge and gave ourselves a chance,” Rose said.
The series is now even at one win each. New York has lost two straight.
The Knicks had to play more than half the game without leading scorer Carmelo Anthony, who was ejected from the game with 3:08 remaining in the first half. Anthony was whistled for a Flagrant-2 foul after punching Sefolosha in the face with his right hand.
Anthony left with 10 points and five rebounds. The Hawks led 43-38 at the time of the fracas.
Both Budenholzer and New York coach Jeff Hornacek said they didn’t get a good look at the play. Each said they would look at it on video before voicing an opinion.
But Budenholzer did say, “(Thabo) is pretty calm and poised and when he reacts that way you think there must have been something pretty serious.”
Both teams had a chance to go ahead in the waning seconds of regulation. Rose missed a driving layup and the ball bounced out of bounds off Porzingis with 7.5 seconds left. Atlanta played for the final shot and Schroder missed a drive at the buzzer, leaving the score tied 85-85 at the end of regulation.
“We’ve been trying to get after it defensively for a while,” Hornacek said. “We didn’t give up a lot of easy shots. They got some layups, but we tried to make it difficult.”
The Knicks led 25-22 after the first quarter thanks to Anthony’s 10 points. The Hawks stayed close thanks to seven points and eight rebounds from Howard.
New York stretched the lead to 34-26 on a 3-pointer by Porzingis with 7:46 left in the half. That’s when Schroder got hot and scored seven points in a 9-0 run to give Atlanta a 35-34 lead. The Knicks led 47-45 at halftime.
The game continued to have a contentious edge. Bazemore and Rose each picked up technical fouls and Howard was given a Flagrant-1 on a play involving Porzingis in the third quarter. New York led 66-65 after three quarters.
NOTES: Atlanta C Dwight Howard was 9 of 9 against the Timberwolves from the floor on Monday and became the team’s first player to have a perfect field goal percentage on at least nine shots since Dikembe Mutombo was 11 of 11 against Minnesota in 1999. … New York F Carmelo Anthony moved past Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor and into 28th place on the NBA career scoring list with 23,156 points. … Inactive for Wednesday’s game for Atlanta were F Tiago Splitter and F Ryan Kelly. For Atlanta, G Courtney Lee and F Maurice Ndour were inactive. … Atlanta plays again at home on Friday against Detroit. New York continues its three-game road trip on Friday at New Orleans.