The scuffling New York Knicks brought their 2-4 record down to Philips Arena and faced the Atlanta Hawks Wednesday night. The Knicks put aside a forgettable third-quarter showing and fought off the Hawks down the stretch, heading home 95-91 victors.
Against Atlanta's new offensive scheme that evokes the efficiency of the San Antonio Spurs—courtesy of new coach and ex-Spurs assistant Mike Budenholzer—the Knicks forced 15 turnovers including 11 steals. Mike Woodson had to be encouraged by his charges' defensive play late in the game against the team he formerly coached.
Carmelo Anthony led New York with 25 points, but Andrea Bargnani turned in a surprising double-double with 20 points and 11 boards. Tim Hardaway Jr. poured in 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, highlighted by an eyebrow-raising alley-oop. Iman Shumpert enjoyed a fine all-around showing on both ends of the floor.
In the first half, the Knicks got dominated in the paint 34-16 with Al Horford and Jeff Teague going to work. Thankfully, the three-pointers were falling as New York led by as many as 17 and got out to a 55-45 halftime lead. They knocked down 8-of-19 behind the arc while Atlanta went 1-of-11. J.R. Smith relished a rare start and dropped nine points in the first eight minutes.
But the Knicks fell flat in the third quarter and missed 19 of 21 shots during one notable stretch of ineptitude. Suddenly the 'Bockers had reverted to jacking up shots instead of exhibiting technically sound ball movement and ceded the lead to Atlanta.
They appeared resurrected in the fourth quarter behind some big buckets from Melo, Bargs and Raymond Felton, giving them just enough to overcome Atlanta. Here are complete grades and analysis for the entire Knicks rotation.