By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
KNICKS 111, HAWKS 106 | MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
How it happened:
Both the Knicks and the Hawks played on Friday night, making tonight a test of wills for two teams with high hopes in the Eastern Conference.
And after the Knicks' frustrating loss in Boston, they were the ones who responded tonight in front of their home crowd, picking up their fourth win of the year at Madison Square Garden.
Led by Carmelo Anthony's 35 points and six rebounds, New York put forth a spirited effort and when the Orange and Blue built up a 15-point lead in the 4th quarter, they avoided the type of letdown that doomed them against the Celtics.
As is usually the case when they've won, the Knicks shared the ball and shot over 50 percent from the floor. With Kenyon Martin out, Coach Mike Woodson decided to go small, inserting J.R. Smith into the lineup and playing Anthony at power forward. This allowed the Knicks to spread the floor and Melo to use his strength and quickness to exploit mismatches all night.
With Smith starting, Tim Hardaway Jr. assumed the role of sparkplug off the bench, finishing with 13 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists in yet another strong effort for the rookie.
Winning the turnover battle has become a trademark of these Knicks under Woodson, and when you look back at this one, dominating that area (27-11) tonight allowed them to prevail despite Atlanta's hot shooting from the floor (61 percent) and from three (47%).
Knick of the Night:
The story of this game wouldn't be complete without Pablo Prigioni, the veteran floor general whose impact rarely becomes clear on the stat sheet. But tonight, Prigioni was masterful, knocking down three big 3's on his way to 11 points, dishing out six assists and pestering the Hawks all night with four steals.
The Knicks will get a day of rest tomorrow before returning to action on Monday against Washington at MSG.