"Doug is like family," Hill said. "I played with his son," Chris, at Duke.
Collins became Hill's coach in 1995-96.
"I played for Doug and learned so much from him," Hill said. "Not all those things [that were learned] got understood when I was younger."
Yet they stayed with Hill, who at 40 remains productive, especially on the defensive end.
"As an older player, someone who has to rely on your intellect and understanding of the game, a lot of lessons I learned from him I am applying now," Hill said.
Hill played only 3 minutes and 21 seconds entering the fourth quarter against the Knicks, but he played all 12 minutes of the final period. Carmelo Anthony had 38 points entering the fourth, but with Hill guarding him, he was limited to four in the quarter. Anthony took just two fourth-quarter shots.
"I don't know if it was me," Hill said humbly.
Actually it was him.
As for the topic of Collins, Hill was more expansive.
"Doug, I like to say, is a great American," Hill said. He added: "I feel I was lucky to play for him and more importantly lucky to call him a friend."
Of course, friendship only goes so far.
"With that said, I am going to try to beat him tomorrow, but I think the world of Doug Collins," Hill said. "He is the best, the best, a good man."
Contact Marc Narducci at firstname.lastname@example.org or @sjnard on Twitter.