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Mike Miller says Knicks need to keep opponents out of the paint

Knicks interim head coach Mike Miller gestures during

Knicks interim head coach Mike Miller gestures during the second half against the Hawks at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 17, 2019. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Knicks are not exactly a work of art. But interim coach Mike Miller is focused on the paint — as in keeping opposing teams out of it.

That’s one of the lessons Miller learned when going over the Knicks’ just-completed 0-4 western road trip.

“We had a chance to go back,” Miller said on Friday night before the Knicks hosted New Orleans at the Garden. “Some of the things that we feel like we need to improve on and be more consistent with were so clear-cut to see. We gave up too many points. We gave up some big quarters. We gave up a couple of big halves. But the big thing is we gave up the paint.

“Our effectiveness is when we’re really doing a good job with the outer part of our defense keeping the ball from getting in there. Ball gets in there, not only are they scoring, it’s spraying out. Those were some things we saw. We saw portions of all the games that we defended very well. We’ve just got to do more. It’s got to be more consistent for a 48-minute game. Offensively, we thought we had really good stretches of offense during that four-game stretch.”

The schedule-makers weren’t kind to the Knicks, giving them games every other day from Friday all the way to Jan. 28 — and then a back-to-back against Memphis on Jan. 29 before they finally get two days off in a row.

“The schedule’s what the schedule is,” Miller said. “You approach it that way. You have to get ready to play . . . I think we’re making strides. Obviously, we feel like we’re a work in progress. We’re looking to improve and we’re seeing improvement. We came back from the trip and we were able to take areas that we were really pleased with and we thought we did a good job and are seeing growth, and we had areas that we have to be more consistent.”

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