How Mike Miller handled wild first day as Knicks coach

Mike Miller understandably had what he described as “a day” over the previous 24 hours. The new interim coach of the Knicks admits he didn’t have much time to implement any drastic changes in his first game after being elevated to replace the fired David Fizdale.

Miller stuck with the same starting lineup the Knicks had been using during their hideous eight-game losing streak Saturday night against Indiana at the Garden. Though the front office duo of team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry avoided the media before the game, Miller spoke mostly in generalities before his NBA debut as a head coach.

“Our focus has been on the consistency on both ends of the floor, that’s where it’s at,” Miller said. “The players, we have a high character group of players, they’re professional, they come in and work every day. The message is we want to be more consistent. And we’re going to be more consistent in what we do and how we work play to play and possession to possession.”

For anyone looking for a refresher on Miller’s background, he is not the Mike Miller who played 17 seasons in the NBA, including two championship runs alongside LeBron James in Miami in 2012 and 2013.

The 55-year-old basketball lifer coached at the college level for nearly 25 years and served as the Knicks’ G-League coach for the previous four years — winning the Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year Award in that developmental level in 2018 — before joining Fizdale’s staff this season.

“Let me start that I would like to thank Coach Fiz for the opportunity to be a part of his staff and to work with such a great group of coaches. I’m very appreciative there and would like to thank the entire Knick organization,” Miller said. “I’ve been here now, as you know, this is my fifth year working for the Knicks, and I’m very appreciative to the entire organization for giving me the opportunity to start and work my way up into the organization.”

Miller said he was informed of his promotion Friday afternoon, with the coaching change announced after Fizdale had run practice and addressed the media ahead of Saturday’s game.

“As you said, it’s been a day. So we’ve really focused on, as we’ve gotten into it, just really preparing for this game,” Miller said. “So that has been a lot about the Pacers and going in and knowing what they’re strengths are what we need to do tonight.

“But I didn’t know I was this popular. I’m not sure my phone is functioning now, I have so many messages and so forth. Going through the last 24 hours, like I said, we’ve been communicating non-stop with our group and working through things.”

Miller was hired during the Phil Jackson regime, so he initially ran the Triangle offense in the G League, but he described his coaching style as wanting “more movement” within the offense.

“Let’s get some force with our entries coming into our offense, let’s have some attack. Let’s get downhill more, put more pressure on that defense, and do that consistently,” Miller said. “Because when we’ve done that we felt like we’ve had good possessions. We’ve had good quarters, good games. And that’s where we’re at.”

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