On Sunday Night, at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks (27-15) defeated the Atlanta Hawks (25-19), by the score of 106-104. Box Score.
Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks in scoring with 42 points on 15-28 shooting including tying two Knicks records, with Nine 3-Pointers and scoring 20+ plus in his 29th consecutive game.
J.R. Smith shook off his poor performance against the 76ers by scoring 18 points while shooting 7-15 from the field. Smith also had three rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Amar’e Stoudemire continued his strong play off the bench by scoring 18 points on 6-9 shooting. STAT also added eight rebounds in which four of them were offensive boards.
Jeff Teague continued the trend of quick point guards dominating the Knicks as he fell one point shy of his career high with 27 points on 9-15 shooting. He also had five rebounds, six assists and two steals.
Josh Smith scored 20 points but committed back to back turnovers, fouled Melo on the go ahead basket for a three point play and missed the go ahead three in the final minute of the game.
Raymond Felton in his second game back from his broken finger, scored 12 points and added 10 assists along with four rebounds.
The Hawks shot 60% from the floor while the Knicks only shot 54%
The Knicks bench outscored the Hawks bench 42-25.
This was the first Knicks win against a team over .500 since defeating the San Antonio Spurs on January 3rd.
The Hawks are now 5-19 since 2000 against the Knicks at MSG.
Well, that was certainly a fun way to end a week of tough games for the Knicks. They did a lot of good things tonight and did some things that have gone from a couple game anomaly to a full blown trend that have hurt them time and time again. The Hawks, much like the Sixers last night, had their way in the paint and shot a ridiculously high percentage. Of course, this time, the Knicks were matching them offensively with some help as they and knocked down 16 three pointers. Coach Woodson will be pleased with the win, especially on the second night of a back to back, but he will probably have plenty to say about the defense he saw tonight at practice. Overall, this was a solid win for the Knicks after that garbage we saw in Philadelphia and now the schedule starts to get much easier as they face only two teams with winning records before the All-Star Break.
– The Knicks have Carmelo Anthony as their go to guy and the Atlanta Hawks have Josh Smith. That was the difference in the game tonight that got the Knicks a win. While Smith was trying his best to find every which way to screw up at the end of the game, there was Melo once again helping the Knicks get a win. At one point in the game, Spero Dedes, calling the game on MSG, was lamenting the shooting slump Melo was in, and then Melo proceeded to hit three, three-pointers in 55 seconds. Of course, when the Knicks needed him the most came through with a drive against, who else, Josh Smith, that turned into a three point play and a lead the Knicks never lost.
– Good to see the Knicks bench duo of STAT and J.R. Smith contribute so much towards the victory. The scoring and energy both guys bring to the game are important for the Knicks as Mike Woodson likes to give his starters a rest as much as he can. Smith had been struggling mightily with his shot and had said he was over thinking the night before, but tonight hit some big shots in the fourth and was helping to keep the Hawks at bay for most of the game. Amar’e, off a good game last time against the Sixers continued his improvement and showed off those post moves he worked on this past summer. He keeps gaining confidence and is playing down the stretch in crunch time, which is more important than being a starter.
– Good to see Raymond Felton shake off the rust and have a double-double in his second game back. His defense, not really his strong suit to begin with, was pretty awful again but with time, it’s going to improve. But with Jason Kidd struggling with a balky back, having Felton healthy and playing well will be a very good sight to see for the Knicks. As we learned watching the Knicks the 12 games he was out, it’s better to have him on the court, than not at all.
– The Hawks are going to be a tough team to beat in the East, but you wonder how they will handle the impending free agency of Josh Smith. Although as you saw or read above, he was not playing like the star player he thinks he is, he is going to be paid like one this summer. You wonder if Atlanta, considering they are having as better year than most people believed they would, will decide to just keep the team together and go for a playoff run or trade him and focus on the future. It will be an interesting few weeks for the Hawks as the trading deadline approaches.
– The Knicks defense has got to be better down the stretch of the season. It’s clear that teams know that using a quick guard to run the pick and roll is the best way to defeat the Knicks. As Iman Shumpert gets healthier he will spend more time on those guards and reduce the time Kidd and Felton deals with them. I think that with players like Jameer Nelson, Brandon Jennings, John Wall coming up, it will be interesting to see if they can slow those guards down after Jrue Holliday and Jeff Teague torched them.
The Knicks finished the week 2-1 against potential playoff teams with a bad game against the 76ers thrown into the mix for a 2-2 overall record. I think that the Knicks will iron out all the issues and can use the next few weeks before the All-Star break bulking up their record. To come back after the game against the Sixers and gut out a tough win in the second game of a back to back is what we have come to expect from the Knicks under Mike Woodson. It almost seems like at times, just when you think the Knicks are gonna have us break the glass and press the panic button, they get a win like they did tonight and have us take a step back and relax. The Knicks have issues and need to fix them as soon as possible, but as we have seen in the past, it really could be a lot worse.
Coming up next the Knicks will continue their home stand as they will welcome in Glen Davis, Jameer Nelson and the Orlando Magic. The game is on Wednesday at 7:30 pm and can be seen on MSG.