Amid rumors of a possible trade and Coach Mike Woodson being on the hot seat, the New York Knicks (3-4) were able to overcome the Atlanta Hawks (4-4) on the road 95-91.
Coming into the game, the major talk was about the Knicks discussing a possible trade with the Denver Nuggets; a trade that would see Iman Shumpert, a fan favorite, be traded to the Nuggets for Kenneth Faried. The talks were in an advanced stage, but fell through before the game started due to the Nuggets rejecting the trade. Nuggets wanted a draft pick along with Shumpert and the Knicks were unwilling to part with another draft pick, which they have been known to include in previous trades.
Knicks didn’t seem bothered by the rumors and came into this game with more focus and put in a much better performance than they did against the Spurs on Sunday.
For a change, in the 1st quarter, Knicks came out firing and opened up a 7 point lead going into the 2nd quarter, 29-22. J.R. Smith, who got the start tonight (his 2nd game starting with the Knicks), hit three 3 pointers and ended the quarter with 9 points. Carmelo Anthony was also able to get off to a good start and finished the quarter with 10 points.
Midway through the 2nd quarter, Knicks built up a 17 point lead which was their highest lead of the night. Hawks were able to cut into the lead before halftime and Knicks went into the break leading 55-45. Both teams shot 49% from the field, but what separated both teams was the 3 point shooting. Knicks finished the half shooting 8-19 from 3, while Hawks only shot 1-11.
Hawks came back to take the lead in the 3rd quarter. Anthony shot only 1-9 from the field, and Knicks as a whole, had a stretch where they missed 19 of their last 21 shots. Knicks only scored 10 points in the quarter and were down by 3 going into the 4th quarter, 68-65.
In the 4th quarter, that second gear, which has been missing from the Knicks for most of the season, showed up. Within the first minute of the quarter, Pablo Prigioni lobbed the ball to Tim Hardaway Jr. for the alley-oop, to take a 1 point lead. Knicks began the quarter on a 4-0 run. Hawks regained momentum and a Kyle Korver 3 pointer increased their lead to 6, 78-72, with about 8:30 to go in the 4th. After that basket, Knicks took over the game.
Anthony sparked the Knicks comeback. He cut the lead to 3, scoring a layup with about 7:30 to go; then on the next possession, he hits a 3 pointer from the wing over Mike Scott to tie the game at 78. About a minute later, Raymond Felton takes Jeff Teague off the dribble and scores the midrange jumper to give the Knicks a 2 point lead. Andrea Bargnani completes the Knicks 11-0 run by knocking down a straight away 3 pointer to increase the lead to 5.
The game was eventually put to rest around the 2 minute mark. Bargnani banks in a 3 pointer, which prompted a J.R.-esque celebration from Hardaway Jr. off the bench, to put the Knicks up by 9. Then on the next possession, Bargnani hit a hook shot in the middle of the paint to increase the lead to 10 and put the game out of reach.
Carmelo Anthony led all Knicks scorers with 25 points. Andrea Bargnani had a huge double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Tim Hardaway Jr. contributed with 14 points off the bench. Iman Shumpert, who was the subject of trade rumors, didn’t have a great shooting game (2-8 from the field, 5 points), but he contributed in other ways by grabbing 6 rebounds and dishing out a career-high 9 assists.
Jeff Teague led all Hawks scorers with 25 points and dished out 8 assists. Al Horford finished with 23 points and 5 rebounds. Cartier Martin contributed with 13 points off the bench.
Game highlights here.