New York Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks: Postgame Grades and Analysis for NYK

Matthew SchmidtFeatured ColumnistApril 4, 2013

New York Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks: Postgame Grades and Analysis for NYK

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    The New York Knicks defeated the Atlanta Hawks, 95-82, on Wednesday night behind 40 points from Carmelo Anthony.

    A night after scoring 50 in a win over the Miami Heat, Anthony came back the next game and was just as effective. He scored 36 points over the first three periods, keeping the Knicks alive as the rest of the team struggled offensively. Other guys then stepped up during the fourth quarter.

    Kyle Korver led the Hawks with 25, hitting six three-pointers.

    New York outscored Atlanta 27-14 over the final 12 minutes to secure its 10th straight win, its longest winning streak in 19 years.

Point Guard: Raymond Felton, B+

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    Raymond Felton was enormous in the fourth quarter, cruising into the lane for three straight layups at one point and scoring 10 points in the period overall. Felton would end up with 14 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals, using a superb final 12 minutes to essentially nullify the previous 36 in which he was pedestrian.

    Also, after getting torched by Jeff Teague for 27 points in the Knicks' first meeting with the Hawks back in January, Felton did a nice job containing the speedy point guard on Wednesday night. Felton played a part in holding Teague to 15 points and in forcing him to turn the ball over six times.

    Felton's plus-12 plus/minus stat was pretty impressive, as well.

    This was a nice outing for the New York floor general, who shot 7-of-16 from the floor.

Shooting Guard: Pablo Prigioni, C

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    Pablo Prigioni hit two threes to score six points against Atlanta, but he didn't do much else in his 13-and-a-half minutes of play.

    Prigioni still has a tendency to pass up open looks at times, as there was one instance where he had a wide open layup but instead kicked it out into the corner.

    The Argentinian finished with a rather poor minus-11 plus/minus.

    There is not much else to say about the performance of Prigioni against the Hawks.

Small Forward: Iman Shumpert, C-

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    Iman Shumpert got off to a good start, making some nice cuts toward the basket and displaying a bounce to his step. That wore off fairly quickly, however, as Shumpert started to grate on the nerves of Mike Woodson.

    In the third quarter, Shumpert continuously left proverbial sharp-shooter Kyle Korver wide open three-point tries, and the Hawks' swingman made him pay. You could see that Woodson was irate with Shumpert, staring him down a couple of times and then ultimately bending over and not even looking as Korver let the final open three he took fly.

    It's hard to understand what Shumpert was thinking in constantly helping off of one of the best long distance shooters in the game, and that is the primary reason for him receiving such a low grade.

    The sophomore finished with four points and six rebounds in 23 minutes.

Power Forward: Carmelo Anthony, A+

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    Anthony continued his red-hot shooting on Wednesday night against Atlanta.

    Melo scored 40 points off 17-of-27 shooting a night after dropping 50 off an 18-of-26 clip. This time, however, he scored from all over the floor, not just from the perimeter.

    Anthony established himself as a post presence early on, using his size to his advantage against DeShawn Stevenson and bulling his way to the rim for easy buckets. When the Hawks then put Josh Smith on him, he turned to his patented one-dribble stepback jumpers, and he made them work. Smith did a great job contesting almost every shot, but it was to no avail, as Anthony drained jumper after jumper.

    The most impressive part about Melo's performance? He only attempted two threes.

    Anthony also hauled in five rebounds and handed out three assists.

    He certainly looks healthy now. That's for sure.

Center: Tyson Chandler, B

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    Tyson Chandler gets a pass here because he is still clearly injured, and you have to wonder if Woodson is taking too big of a risk by bringing him back this soon.

    Every time Chandler went to the bench, he looked to be in extreme discomfort. He spent an ample amount of time flexing his neck and shoulder, and judging from the fact that he only had four rebounds while fouling four times in 23-and-a-half minutes, he is definitely not 100 percent.

    The Knicks may be better served sitting Chandler down the stretch to make sure he is right for the playoffs.

    You have to give the New York big man credit for gutting it out tonight. That alone deserves a "B."

Sixth Man: J.R. Smith, A-

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    J.R. Smith was mediocre until the fourth quarter, when he and Felton put Atlanta away.

    Smith scored 10 of his 19 points during the final period, helping the Knicks extend their lead to double digits with about four-and-a-half minutes to go. New York never looked back at that point.

    Smith shot 8-of-15 from the floor overall and ended up with a plus-16. He also put the exclamation put on New York's win with a rim-rocking jam.

    He did make some poor decisions which resulted in five turnovers, but this was a very solid night overall for the Sixth Man of the Year candidate.

    You also really had to love some of the passes he made, particularly the one to Shumpert on the break early on in the contest.

Rest of Knicks Bench, B+

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    Kenyon Martin was very effective on the glass in the 24 minutes he played against the Hawks, grabbing nine rebounds, four of them offensive. However, he left the game in the second half with a sore right knee and would not return. The last thing the Knicks need right now is more injuries to their frontcourt, so hopefully for their sake, Martin is all right.

    Steve Novak was able to hit a few threes, connecting on all three of his long-distance attempts for nine points.

    Jason Kidd filled up the stat sheet in all categories except for scoring. The veteran went scoreless, but he recorded six assists and five rebounds. He also did an excellent job denying Korver the basketball on the defensive end.

    Solid all-around effort for the New York bench.