Written by William Lee
The New York Knicks lose their fourth straight game Saturday night, losing to the Atlanta Hawks 103-96.
Derek Fisher decided to go small against the Hawks, inserting Tim Hardaway Jr. in to the starting lineup in favor of Jason Smith. The strategical move looked great early on with the increased floor spacing freeing up Carmelo Anthony on offense, whom has struggled early on this season. Anthony started the game off strongly, making his first shot of the game. Anthony played extremely well in the first quarter, almost notching a double-double in the first twelve minutes of play with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Anthony strong start led the way for New York to an early 32-20 first quarter lead.
Curiously Fisher kept Anthony in the game to start the second quarter after playing the whole first quarter. Fisher thought better of it, and pulled him out a one minute into the second quarter. With Anthony on the bench, Atlanta shortly would go on an 8-0 run. By the time Anthony was subbed back into the game mid-way through the second quarter, the Knick’s lead which was at one point 15, was now cut down to one possession 38-35. With Anthony back in the game, the overall energy of the team seemed to have picked up, freeing the other Knicks up to score. New York would finish the quarter strong heading into the half with a 61-48 lead.
New York should have been up by even more though, as Atlanta shot a dismal 35% from the field in the first half. But the Hawks kept themselves in the game, with some assistance from the Knicks, whom foolishly got into the penalty mid-way through both the first and second quarter. Atlanta took advantage of this, aggressively getting to the free throw line 22 times in the first half.
Much like the first half, New York would again found themselves in the penalty early, outdoing themselves this time, by reaching it at the seven minute mark in the third quarter… The Hawks would again capitalize, going to the charity stripe another ten times in the quarter. New York completely unraveled in the third quarter, converting on only one field goal the final six minutes of the period. By the end of the third quarter, New York had given up the lead, being outscored 27 to 13 in the quarter, giving Atlanta a 75-74 lead. The Knicks had as many field goals made in the quarter as turnovers committed (5)…
New York started off the fourth quarter strong, getting up by as much as six points on an 11-4 run, capped off by an Hardaway Jr. three that gave the Knicks a 85-79 lead. The Hawks would answer though, in particular Kyle Krover, who destroyed the Knicks from downtown all night long, making his fifth and sixth three-pointer during an 15-3 run, which gave Atlanta a 94-88 lead with 4:08 remaining in the game.
Iman Shumpert layup with 2:17 left in the game cut the deficit to four 94-90, but on the ensuing possession, a defensive lapse left DeMarre Carroll wide open for a three. Carroll’s dagger three gave Atlanta a 97-90 lead with 1:25 left in the game.
Al Horford arguably Atlanta’s best player was left open to take a free throw shot. As the shot left Horford’s hand, he knew he had left it short and hustled to get the rebound. During the loose ball play his presence forced J.R. Smith to loss control of the ball out of bound, giving Atlanta a fresh 24 seconds to work with 50.7 remaining in the game. This essentially sealed the game for the Knicks, but what was perplexing was that New York didn’t foul immediately to prolong the game. Either way Atlanta continued to get Korver the ball, who fittingly finished the game off, making all his clutch free throws, finishing the game with 27 points.
Anthony who had a strong first quarter, struggled the rest of the night, going 2/10 the rest of the way for a disappointing six points. The lone bright spot was Iman Shumpert’s play, wasting a great 19 points 7 assist effort by him Saturday night. Shumpert showed that he could handle some point guard duties, but this was also the problem for the Knicks…that Shumpert even has to handle any point guard duties. New York desperately needs their prized acquisition from the Tyson Chandler trade, Jose Calderon, to return from injury. New York will get another crack at Atlanta, as the two will face off again Monday night at Madison Square Garden.