The Atlanta Hawks took on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Gardens for their third matchup; Atlanta hoping to steal a win after being down 2-0 in the series. Both teams sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, fighting for the higher lottery pick, having only won 7 games (Hawks) and 9 games (Knicks) going into their face off on Friday.
Ultimately, the Atlanta Hawks would best the short-handed Knicks after an abysmal performance from New York in the second half, even after being in the lead going into halftime.
The Hawks rallied against a hot-handed duo of Kevin Knox and Emmanuel Mudiay, with Knox posting 17 of his 24 points in the first quarter. Mudiay finished with a game-high 32 points and a solid 4 assists. Tim Hardaway Jr, former Atlanta Hawks player finished with 15 points.
Kent Bazemore of the Hawks lit the Gardens for 22 points to help secure the victory. John Collins rocked the boards for 16 rebounds along with his 17 point performance against Knick big man Noah Vonleh, who posted 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Trae Young, the only Hawk to start every single game of the Hawks 31 match schedule so far notched 15 points with 10 assists, relaxing his offensive tempo; attempting n three pointers during the game.
A player that’s been giving his all is Kevin Heurter of the Hawks, tonight hitting 50% from the field to log 16 points. His recent string of games has caused fans to compare him to the likes of Klay Thompson and other looked-upon guards in the draft with a similar playstyle.
Off the bench for the Hawks, DeAndre Bembry and Alex Len totaled 12 points each, with former Knick Jeremy Lin posting 11 points in a return to the garden.
The Knicks, despite having a great first half, crumbled in the second – scoring only 38 points (Knicks scored 39 points in the first quarter). The Atlanta Hawks changed their defensive pressure at half time to lock up strong player Kevin Knox.
For our guys to make a stand defensively was great to see.Atlanta Hawks Head Coach Lloyd Pierce on their defense in the second half
New York this season has been known for blowing leads at the half, losing 128-110 to Phoenix after a Knick lead at half. Head coach David Fizdale has expressed his frustration with how the Knicks young roster haven’t been able to close out games in the late after taking a lead.
For whatever reason, we are hitting the wall in that third quarter. That’s our new quarter for some reason. We look fatigued and we stop moving the ball. Everything that was sharp in the first half, kind of fades out in the second. We have to figure it out.Head Coach David Fizdale on their team’s halftime problems
Knicks Update: New York star power forward Kristaps Porzingis (left knee surgery) has made progress in his rehabilitation according to team officials. Knicks reports say he is scheduled to be re-evaluated mid-February.
The Atlanta Hawks visit the Detroit Pistons on Sunday night.
The New York Knicks host the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night.