Owners of three straight wins, the Knicks have leaned on an improved defensive effort under interim coach Mike Miller. Their latest feat was holding the Trail Blazers to 16 fourth-quarter points in Wednesday’s 117-93 win at the Garden, highlighted by limiting Damian Lillard to 11 points on 5-of-20 shooting.
In 22 games this season before David Fizdale was fired, the Knicks ranked 25th in the NBA with a 112.9 defensive rating — an estimate of points allowed per 100 possessions. In 12 games under Miller, their defensive rating has improved to 108.6, good for 16th in the league during that stretch.
Part of that improvement has been making opponents change their shot selection. In Fizdale’s 22 games, the Knicks forced the second-fewest midrange shots (24.9 percent) in the league and owned the third-worst defensive shot profile, according to Cleaning the Glass. Since Miller took over, they have forced opponents to take more midrange shots (33 percent) and own the fourth-best defensive shot profile.