By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
KNICKS 95, HAWKS 91 | Philips Arena
How it happened:
After watching San Antonio execute to perfection on Sunday, the Knicks headed to Atlanta intent on bouncing back against the team that openly models itself after the Spurs. Coach Mike Woodson made a slight tweak to the rotation, sliding J.R. Smith into the starting lineup in his second game back, and it helped pave the way for a solid, four-point win on the road.
Carmelo Anthony tied for a game high with 25 points and Andrea Bargnani continued his superb play, pitching in 20 points and 11 rebounds against the Hawks' talented front line.
Perhaps as a result of the lineup change, the Knicks' offensive spacing was as good as it had been all season. It propelled them to a blistering first quarter, in which they shot 52 percent from the floor and shot 5-of-10 from three. They opened up a 10-point halftime lead by sharing the ball and keeping the Hawks off the three-point line -- Atlanta made only one three in the first half.
New York led by as many as 17 before Atlanta surged ahead in the second half. But the Knicks rebounded from a rough-shooting third quarter, thanks to an 11-0 run in a two-minute stretch in the middle of the fourth.
Raymond Felton asserted himself down the stretch, nailing a few jumpers, and Melo and Bargs carried the team to the win.
It was a team effort Woodson can be proud of: Iman Shumpert dished out a career high nine assists; Smith scored 12, inclusing 3-of-7 from three, and had seven rebounds in 33 minutes; Tim Hardaway Jr. set a new career high with 14 points. The Knicks dominated the turnover battle, 15-3.
Knick of the Night:
Shumpert. He only registered five points in 35 minutes, but Shump made his mark on a win defined by unselfishness and smart play. In addition to the career-best nine dimes, he had six rebounds and four steals. That he finished with a team high plus-15 rating for the game is no coincidence.
The Knicks will fly back to New York tonight and have little time to get ready for the Houston Rockets, who come to Madison Square Garden for a nationally-televised matchup tomorrow night.