Knicks better after firing coach, but missed free throw costly in loss

Julius Randle missed a free throw with 0.1 of a second left, sending New York to a 104-103 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in the Knicks’ first game since firing coach David Fizdale.

The Knicks were much more competitive under interim coach Mike Miller than they had been in recent games under Fizdale, who was fired Friday. They chased after rebounds and loose balls throughout the fourth quarter, erasing an 11-point deficit and giving themselves a shot at overtime when Randle was fouled while trying to put back the rebound of a scramble.

He calmly made the first free throw but the second was well long, sending New York (4-19) to a ninth straight loss.

T.J. Warren scored 25 points and Domantas Sabonis had 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Pacers. They bounced back from a loss at Detroit on Friday.

The Knicks lost by 44 and 37 in their last two games under Fizdale and he was fired Friday after running practice. The Knicks offered no details about the decision in their press release announcing the firing, and team executives didn’t speak Saturday.

Players responded with a good effort in the first game since the change but couldn’t overcome 40.6% shooting.

The Knicks added Keith Bogans as an assistant coach after he previously served as an assistant for the team’s G League affiliate in Westchester, N.Y. The Knicks fired assistant Keith Smart on Friday.

Rockets 115, Suns 109: James Harden scored 18 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter and Ben McLemore added 27 points to help host Houston outlast Phoenix. Harden had a tough shooting night through three quarters and was 5 of 19 overall and 1 of 10 on 3s with 16 points before he got going in the fourth. The game was tied with about 7 minutes left, and he scored all of Houston’s points in a 13-6 run that made it 102-95.

Mavericks 130, Pelicans 84: Luka Doncic scored 28 points in 26 minutes, leading host Dallas in a rout of New Orleans. Dallas has won five in a row and 10 of 11 for the first time since winning its only NBA title in 2010-11. New Orleans went scoreless for more than four minutes in the third quarter, losing its eighth straight.

76ers 141, Cavaliers 94: Ben Simmons hit his second career 3-pointer and scored a career-high 34 points, and Philadelphia didn’t need Joel Embiid’s help to rout visiting Cleveland. Simmons made 12 of 14 field goals, including his only 3-point attempt, and hit 9 of 12 free throws to help Philadelphia improve to 11-0 at home. Embiid sat out with a left hip contusion. Darius Garland had 17 points for the Cavaliers, who have lost six in a row and 12 of 13.

Jazz 126, Grizzlies 112: Donovan Mitchell scored 22 points and Jeff Green matched his season high with 19 points off the bench, leading host Utah over Memphis. Rudy Gobert had 19 points, 11 rebounds and a season-high five assists, and Joe Ingles had a season-high 10 assists and 12 points. Bojan Bogdanovic added 19 points for the Jazz. Utah shot 57% from the field and went 19 of 34 from 3-point range.Jaren Jackson, Jr. scored 26 points and Jae Crowder added 13 for the Grizzlies. Memphis lost despite forcing 22 turnovers and shooting 53% from the field. The Jazz shot 60.5% and went 11 of 19 from 3-point range in the first half. Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant missed his fourth straight game because of back soreness.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Knicks-better-after-firing-coach-but-missed-free-14890441.php.

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