After a 102-90 victory over the Miami Heat on Tuesday, the New York Knicks face the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday at Philips Arena.
The Knicks—who beat a Heat team missing LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers on Tuesday—last played the Hawks on Jan. 27, emerging with a 106-104 victory after Carmelo Anthony scored the game-winning layup with 12 seconds left. Anthony had an unbelievable game that night, posting 42 points while going 15-of-28 from the field and 9-of-12 from beyond the arc.
New York allowed Atlanta to shoot 60 percent from the floor in that game, yet still won. That's because the team as a whole notched 16 three-pointers and scored 17 points on 19 Hawks turnovers.
The Hawks have gone a ho-hum 4-4 in their last eight games. That includes losses to the Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers, Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics, and wins over the Milwaukee Bucks (twice), Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic.
The Hawks rank sixth in field-goal percentage, but 17th in offensive efficiency, per TeamRankings.com. That's in large part due to the fact that they rank 21st in turnover rate and 26th in offensive rebounding percentage.
The Knicks, on the other hand, rank fourth in opponents' turnover rate, suggesting that the 19 turnovers they forced against the Hawks on Jan. 27 was no fluke.
The Knicks rank a middle-of-the-road 17th in the NBA in opponents' field-goal percentage and defensive efficiency this season. The Hawks rank 13th and 10th respectively in those categories, although they weren't able to contain Anthony on Jan. 27. They also allowed J.R. Smith to drop 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. Not coincidentally, Atlanta ranks 28th in the NBA in opponents' three-point percentage.
The Knicks have won nine straight games. That includes wins over playoff contenders such as the Heat, Celtics (twice) and Memphis Grizzlies. This is despite being an injury-riddled team. Tyson Chandler returned to the floor on Tuesday, but the status of big men Amar'e Stoudemire and Kurt Thomas is still uncertain.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Knicks are 27-10 at home this season, but not as good on the road (20-16). They may have beaten the Hawks on Jan. 27, but they did so at Madison Square Garden.
Still, the Knicks have the better team and the momentum.
Prediction: Knicks 100, Hawks 94