Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks looks on...

Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks looks on in the second half of a game against the Atlanta Hawks at Madison Square Garden on Monday, Nov. 10, 2014. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Hours before the Knicks stepped on the Madison Square Garden court Monday night for a rematch with the Hawks, the players got a visit from team president Phil Jackson during the morning shootaround.

Jackson said he delivered a message about something that "irritated" him about Saturday night's loss in Atlanta.

"I did step on the court today," Jackson said in his first meeting with reporters since the preseason, "and told players, 'If guys lean all over you and put their nose in your business, you have a right to protect yourself.' "

So Jackson wants more toughness. He also said he wants more defense, and less focus on the triangle offense. Bottom line: He really wanted the Knicks to avenge Saturday's defeat and end their four-game skid.

"I said, 'The only thing that's important about this game that you should know is you have an opportunity to play them Monday and redeem the loss you got on Saturday night,' " he said.

Unfortunately for the Knicks, redemption was not on the menu Monday night. The Hawks outexecuted them down the stretch in a 91-85 win at the Garden.

The Knicks (2-6), who went into the fourth quarter trailing by five, got to within 75-74 when Carmelo Anthony hit a jumper with 2:51 left. But the Hawks (3-3) scored the next six points as the Knicks went cold at the wrong time.

"I told the guys tonight that I'm sorry that I can't chalk up a 'W' for them with a lot of the effort that they are giving," Derek Fisher said. "But if they keep doing those things, instead of losing four or five in a row, we'll start to win four or five in a row."

Anthony, who shot 11-for-25, led the Knicks with 25 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in 41:31. Iman Shumpert (18), Tim Hardaway Jr. (15) and J.R. Smith (12) also scored in double figures. "It's discouraging," Shumpert said. "We've got to win games. That's it."

Paul Millsap led Atlanta with 19 points. Kyle Korver scored 17, Dennis Schroder added 14 and Al Horford had 12.

Anthony did show a little irritation with the Hawks in the fourth quarter, perhaps taking Jackson's advice to heart. He exchanged words with Pero Antic and then got into a minor shoving match with Thabo Sefolosha.

"For me, I think I was just frustrated with myself," Anthony said. "Just shooting the ball, not making shots . . . We've just got to stay with it, stay positive, just stay focused, as a team, as a unit, because the ship could easily sink early."

The Knicks were able to crank up the defense in the first half, but their own offense was lacking and the teams went into halftime tied at 38.

The second half got off to a promising start when Shumpert and Hardaway hit consecutive three-pointers to give the Knicks a 44-38 lead. But the Hawks used the three-point shooting of Korver to retake the lead (50-49) at the 7:23 mark. Atlanta led 64-59 after three quarters.

On Saturday, the Knicks went ahead by 15 in the first half and led 61-48 at halftime. They ended up with a 103-96 loss.

"We had a good game going the first half at Atlanta and failed coming out of that halftime," Jackson said. "That's part of the growth prospect of this team. I think for our fan base and our people who are impatient for the team to immediately show this progress, I think you're going to see progress and you're going to enjoy it."

Notes & quotes: Pablo Prigioni returned after missing two games with a sprained right ankle and had three points in 22:04.


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