Written by William Lee
The New York Knicks came into Saturday night with a chance to gain a full game on the eight seed Atlanta Hawks. The task would be even more difficult than a typical back to back game, because the Knicks played extended minutes against the Orlando Magic the night before, with the game going into double overtime. Five players played over 40 minutes Friday night, with Carmelo Anthony going over the 50 minute mark.
Even though Anthony played extended minutes he was still able to have an effective shooting night, scoring 35 points, including four threes. Yet again though it would be another wasted well-played game from Carmelo Anthony as the Knicks fall to the Hawks 107-98. It was also a wasted night for Tyson Chandler who was a man possessed on the glass, collecting 23 rebounds. As great as this performance was, it should be noted that Atlanta is the fourth worst rebounding team in the league with 40.7 per game.
It was a game of massive swings, the Knicks tied the game up at 36-36 on a 13-3 run mid-way through the second quarter. This run would be extended to a 29-6 run to end the first half, giving New York a 52-39 lead at the half. New York outscored Atlanta 29-15 in the second quarter, holding the Hawks to 30% shooting in the period. In the second quarter Mike Scott kept Atlanta in the game, scoring 12 of his career high 30 points in the period.
Not to be out done by Mike Scott, DeMarre Carroll joined in on the career high points achievement fun, scoring 14 of his career high 24 points in the third quarter. Carroll production helped the Hawks in a huge swing to end the third quarter, to get Atlanta back in the game. Ending the quarter on a 20-10 run, which then was extended into the start of the fourth quarter to 29-10, as Atlanta connected on three on consecutive baskets from beyond the arc. The Hawks took the lead with this run and never looked back.
Once Atlanta took the lead their floor general Jeff Teague took control of the game, scoring 16 points in the final period. The biggest problem the Knicks have this season is the lack of defense against penetrating point guards, and with the way the NBA in now officiated nowadays that is a big problem. That is where Iman Shumpert’s absence will severely hurt the Knicks, as he was the only defensive player New York can send on the best opposing guards. The lack of a defensive ball stopper could not be more evident Saturday night, as Tim Hardaway Jr. fouled out of the game trying to keep up with Atlanta’s guards. Raymond Felton was also one foul shy of fouling out, but was able to have a somewhat productive game on the offensive side at least, with a double-double 16 points and 10 assists.
New York still had a long shot of making a comeback with less than two minutes to play, but DeMarre Carroll capped off his career night with a four point play that completely sealed the game for Atlanta. The four point play gave Atlanta a 107-95 lead with 57.2 seconds remaining in the game.
The loss pushed New York 5.5 games behind the eighth seed, and the schedule ahead will not get any less difficult. The next four games on schedule will be Dallas, Miami, Golden State, and Chicago. This could very well be losses for all these games, so that would put the Knicks in a six game losing streak. The season is slipping away, along with their playoff hopes.