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Hawks 142, Knicks 139 (4 OT): Scenes from a loss like no other

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Wow.

NBA: New York Knicks at Atlanta Hawks Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe the Knicks are a playoff team. Maybe they’re a surreptitious tank. We’ve seen playoff runs. We’ve seen seasons that went nowhere. What we’ve never seen, unless you’ve followed this team since the days of their rivalry with the Rochester Royals, was a quadruple-overtime game. Until today! The destination disappointed, but the journey was well worth it.

The Knicks began the game HOT. Courtney Lee opened up like he finished Friday’s win over Charlotte.

Melo was even hotter.

Like, supernova hot.

Atlanta came back, but a 10-0 second quarter run let the Knicks retake the lead.

Hey, Then. Meet Now.

On the go? Enjoy apotheosis in GIF form.

Dwight had a hard time dealing with it.

This game went 68 minutes, so in the interest of balanced reporting don’t sleep on the Hawks doing nice things. Here are Howard and Paul Millsap looking like my summer dreams of what Joakim Noah and KP might have been.

Pop-quiz, Brandon Jennings: you run a pick-and-roll with a scalding Melo that results in Millsap defending you and Dennis Schroder stuck in a mismatch on Anthony. What do you do? What do you do?

Fail.

Here, Schroder shows us how to treat a mismatch when he caught Melo out on the perimeter.

New York could have wrapped up the game late in regulation, but Atlanta fought back to take the lead after the Knicks couldn’t grab a rebound or contain penetration. Sound familiar?

Rebuttal, NY?

Looked like he got fouled, too. I hate — HATE — blaming the refs for losses. But this game wasn’t just historic for its length. These. Refs. Blew.

If you watched this game, you saw it. The Knicks were playing 5-on-8.

The Hawks got off to a good start in (the first) overtime.

Things went back and forth until New York, down two with seven seconds left in OT, gave the ball to Melo. Fade. Release. Swish. Tie game. Even if NY doesn’t respect his game anymore, others recognize.

Atlanta couldn’t stop Melo all night. But the Knicks lost because they couldn’t stop lots of things that compounded over time. Including Schroder.

The Knicks were down three at the end of double-overtime. Anthony had fouled out. What’s a girl to do?

These are the people who get priced out of playoff games. Much respect, all who stuck with this game throughout.

The worst thing about four-overtime games is losing them. Brandon Jennings played seemingly every minute tonight, and after the Knicks’ second-to-last possession, down one, resulted in an awful turnover when a Lee jump pass went over everybody’s head out of bounds, you could see how much that turnover and this loss hurt.

Recap to come later, assuming an executive order isn’t issued tonight that bans us from recaps. The Knicks didn’t quit tonight, even when the odds seemed stacked against them. You shouldn’t either.