ATLANTA — Carmelo Anthony did all he could, scoring 45 points in 46 minutes. But Sunday’s game lasted 68 minutes, and the Knicks didn’t have enough of their main players and couldn’t make enough big plays to knock off the Hawks.
By the time the game finally was decided, the Knicks had four-fifths of their usual starting unit on the bench, either in street clothes or because they had fouled out.
It started in the afternoon and ended in the evening, with the Knicks on the deflating end of a 142-139 quadruple-overtime loss.
“I had another five [minutes] in me,” Brandon Jennings said. “Everybody damn near fouled out on our team, which was amazing. The guys came in and still contributed and fought hard for us . . . This one definitely hurts.”
The only other time the Knicks played a four-overtime game was on Jan. 23, 1951, when they lost at Rochester, 102-92.
Kristaps Porzingis fouled out in regulation. Anthony fouled out with 13 seconds left in the second overtime. Joakim Noah fouled out in the third overtime. Derrick Rose (sprained left ankle) didn’t play at all.
But the Knicks (21-28) still had a chance to force a fifth overtime. With the Knicks down three and time running out, Courtney Lee — who hit a long three-pointer with 1.5 seconds left to send the game to a third overtime — rebounded his own missed three-pointer and dribbled out to the corner. He used a pump fake to get open but misfired on a potential tying three.
“I’m not hanging my head about anything,” Lee said. “I had a great look at the end. Felt good; it just didn’t go in.”
Anthony, who had his best scoring game of the season, continues to show that the trade rumors involving him are not affecting his performance. He tied the score with 2.6 seconds left in regulation with a driving layup and 6.9 seconds to go in the first overtime with a jumper.
Jeff Hornacek and several Knicks contended that Anthony was fouled on that layup. “The game should have been over at that point,” Anthony said. “That’s all I’m going to say about that.”
Anthony has had at least 30 points in four of his last six games. During the game, fans chanted “L.A. Clippers!” and “The Knicks don’t want you!” at Anthony, but he remains unfazed by all the talk and reports.
“Once I’m on the court, I don’t hear that,” he said. “I’m just feeling good about myself, about my body, feeling healthy. Being able to just focus on basketball and playing basketball and not worrying about everything else that’s going on out there.”
Jennings said, “I don’t think he’s going to let anything stop him from doing what he does. He just had 45, so [expletive] the trade rumors.”
Jennings had 18 points and 11 assists in 53 minutes and Lee scored 17 in 52. Porzingis added 15 points, including a monster dunk over former three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard, and three blocked shots.
Paul Millsap led Atlanta (28-20) with 37 points, 19 rebounds and seven assists in 60 minutes. Kent Bazemore scored 24 points and Dennis Schröder had 23 points and 15 assists.
In the fourth overtime, the first five baskets were three-pointers — three by the Knicks and two by Atlanta — on five consecutive possessions in the span of 65 seconds. Jennings’ second three-pointer in that sequence gave the Knicks a 139-136 lead with 2:56 left, but they would not score again. Millsap rebounded Tim Hardaway Jr.’s miss and hit a putback to give the Hawks a 141-139 lead with 27.4 seconds left.
For the second straight possession, the Knicks didn’t get a shot off when Lee’s pass to Willy Hernangomez inside sailed over his head and out of bounds with 14.6 seconds left, but the Knicks weren’t done.
Schröder was fouled intentionally with 10.2 seconds left and made one of two free throws to put the Knicks in a three-point hole. In a similar situation in the second overtime, the Hawks elected not to foul and Lee made them pay with a tying three-pointer. They again used that strategy, but it worked this time as Lee couldn’t convert.
“Things haven’t gone our way, but they’ve never given up,” Hornacek said. “They continue to battle and play. That’s to their credit that they don’t give up. Hopefully the season’s not over. It’s a crazy year in the East, it looks like. They’re hanging in there.”
Players who logged the most minutes in the four-OT (68-minute) game:
Brandon Jennings 53
Courtney Lee 52
Carmelo Anthony 46
Joakim Noah 41
Paul Millsap 60
Tim Hardaway Jr. 58
Dennis Schroder 55
Kent Bazemore 50