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

Christopher Walder@@WalderSportsContributor IINovember 17, 2013

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

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    Perhaps the New York Knicks should consider ditching their orange uniforms, as they can't seem to find much success when wearing them.

    Led by Jeff Teague and his 16 points, the Atlanta Hawks (6-4) sent the Knicks to their sixth loss of the season and their fifth at Madison Square Garden with a 110-90 victory.

    New York is now 0-4 while wearing orange on the year.

    Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with 23 points, while Andrea Bargnani chipped in 16 of his own.

    The "Fire Woodson!" chants were out in full blast Saturday night, as the head coach finds himself in shaky waters with his team failing to produce through nine games. 

    The Knicks will now have two full days off before they travel to Detroit to face the Pistons on November 19. 

Point Guard: Raymond Felton

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    Raymond Felton has been one of the more frustrating Knicks players to watch this season. Prior to Saturday night, he was averaging 11.6 points on 37.6 percent shooting, including 5.3 assists and 2.0 turnovers.

    Teague had little to no trouble getting past Felton on the drive, as the Knicks' veteran point guard couldn't keep his man in front of him or contain him on defense.  

    He was thoroughly outplayed by Teague all game, as the fifth-year guard for Atlanta scored 16 points and got to the free-throw line 10 times, while Felton scored just seven points and turned the ball over on four occasions.

    Getting Felton to play at a high enough level from start to finish is quite the chore. When forced to defend more athletic, quicker point guards, he usually falters.

    Saturday night was no exception. 


    Final Grade: C

Shooting Guard: J.R. Smith

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    Since returning from a five-game suspension to start the season, J.R. Smith is shooting 25.7 percent from the field over a three-game span. 

    He was aggressive in getting to the basket during the team's first two possessions of the game. Unfortunately, his first shot was altered by Paul Millsap and his second drive was eventually tied up by DeMarre Carroll, leading to a jump ball. He would then respond with a jumper and floater in the lane.

    Mike Breen and Walt Frazier noted in the second quarter how Smith's shots were flat and falling short, so they suggested he look to attack more, rather than settling on the perimeter.

    Well, that didn't go well either. Smith finished the first half with seven points on 3-of-12 shooting. He constantly forced the issue by himself, rather than using ball movement to make life a little more easy. 

    If the NBA were a series of one-on-one matchups, Smith would likely thrive. Unfortunately, that's not the way things are. On this night, the ball stopped once it hit his hands.

    He didn't score a single point in the final 24 minutes, finishing the night shooting 3-of-18 and 1-of-9 from three-point range.



    Final Grade: D-

Small Forward: Iman Shumpert

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    The last time these two teams met, Iman Shumpert scored just five points in 34 minutes of action, but he at least contributed in other areas, grabbing six rebounds, dishing out nine assists and stealing the ball four times.  

    On this occasion, it took until the final few minutes of the third quarter for Shumpert to really get going.

    He hit two back-to-back three-pointers to bring New York back to within five of Atlanta at 74-69. He immediately followed that up with sound defense on the other end, leading to a Hawks turnover.  

    In 33 minutes, Shumpert would score 11 points, grab seven rebounds and hit three three-pointers.

    For the most part, his shot was falling through. Perhaps he should have looked to make things happen more on offense.

    I guess that's difficult to do with Smith hoisting up 15 misses. 


    Final Grade: C+

Power Forward: Carmelo Anthony

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    Carmelo Anthony was an absolute beast on the glass in the first half, grabbing nine rebounds, including four offensive.

    The six-time NBA All-Star was found mostly under the basket, posting up his defender and drawing double- and triple-teams by Atlanta. That created opportunities for some of his teammates to get open, as stopping Anthony was clearly a point of emphasis by Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer. 

    Frankly, Anthony was the only reliable scoring option for New York in the first half, as no one else could get into a groove with their shot. 

    By the end of the third quarter, all but one of his field goals were in the paint.

    He shot just 1-of-4 in the fourth quarter, finishing the game with a double-double of 23 points and 12 rebounds.

    This game was ugly, but it could have been A LOT worse had it none been for Anthony, and it's not as if he had a tremendous outing either. 


    Final Grade: B 

Center: Andrea Bargnani

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    With Tyson Chandler out of the lineup, former 2006 No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani has stepped up his game in a major way, scoring 20 or more points in three of his past four games. 

    "Il Mago" didn't hit either of his two shot attempts in the first quarter, but that's because he was too busy drawing fouls and getting to the charity stripe, shooting 5-of-6 and grabbing four rebounds.

    New York isn't the easiest of environment's to win over folks, but after a negative reception to begin the season, fans of the Knicks are warming up nicely to the 7'0" center out of Italy.

    Rather than booing, the fanbase is encouraging Bargnani to shoot the basketball more. 

    Frustration boiled over in the third quarter as he picked up a technical foul after being called for a loose ball foul going for a rebound. 

    His offensive numbers of 16 points and nine rebounds on 5-of-11 shooting are respectable, but his defense is what really held him back Saturday night.

    Bargnani's help defense is very much a work in progress. His man-to-man is where he plays his best, but there's still a lot to learn for a player still searching for his identity in that aspect of the game.


    Final Grade: B-


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    Metta World Peace did not suit up for the New York Knicks against the Hawks due to a sore knee. 

    Teamwork and synergy was on full display near the end of the first quarter, as Pablo Prigioni, Shumpert and Anthony all touched the ball, leading to an open three-pointer for Tim Hardaway Jr. It was beautiful, simplistic basketball that worked to a tee. 

    Amar'e Stoudemire had a nice stuff over Gustavo Ayon to begin the fourth quarter. He played just 14 minutes in total, scoring five points.

    His minutes will continue to be monitored, but until his PT is more than 9:45 a game, expectations will need to be tempered heavily. Saturday night was encouraging, but with the way his minutes fluctuate, you can never be too sure moving forward.

    Hardaway Jr. had a nice outing, scoring eight points while going a perfect 2-of-2 from three-point range. Kenyon Martin was also productive, grabbing six rebounds and scoring six points in a little over 17 minutes. 

    With Anthony on the bench early in the first half, the second unit failed to hold down the fort as the Hawks went on a 12-1 run.

    Defense was a major issue for New York throughout the game, but even more so with the bench and its inability to slow down Atlanta. 


    Final Grade: C+/B-