By Charlie Widdoes (Twitter)
Knicks vs. Hawks | Phillips Arena
When: Saturday | 7:30 PM
Where to Watch: MSG
Where to Listen: ESPN 98.7 FM
New York (21-34): After leading by as many as 14 points in the 4th quarter last night in Orlando, the Knicks were unable to close the deal and now head to Atlanta looking for a win to finish this four-game road trip with a .500 record. Coach Mike Woodson's team is dealing with injuries, most recently to Iman Shumpert's (knee), which has impacted the Knicks' perimeter defense and had a trickle-down effect on bench depth. Carmelo Anthony has poured in 86 points in the last two games, but the tremendous production has come at a cost -- after last night's double-overtime marathon, he's logged over 90 minutes during that time.
Atlanta (25-29): The Hawks have slipped to eighth in the Eastern Conference standings, hanging on to the last playoff spot as they try to stay afloat amidst a slew of injuries. Star big man Al Horford is out for the season with another pectoral injury and promising rookie Pero Antic is sidelined with a stress fracture in his ankle. Atlanta ranks 16th in both offensive and defensive efficiency thanks to the contributions of All-Star forward Paul Millsap and speedy point guard Jeff Teague, who spearhead an offense that leads the league in assists and hoists the sixth most threes in the league.
The Numbers Game
Atlanta sharpshooter Kyle Korver has made a 3-pointer in 123 consecutive games, the longest such streak in NBA history. He attempts 5.6 threes per game and is making 47 percent of them.
Matchup to Watch
Carmelo Anthony vs. Paul Millsap
Last weekend, Millsap joined Melo in New Orleans, making his first career All-Star appearance in his first season with the Hawks. He's a versatile offensive threat (averaging 17.6 points, 8.3 rebounds per game) who has expanded his game under first-year coach Mike Budenholzer. A 37 percent 3-point shooter this year, he's now taking a career-high 2.8 per game. Anthony will have his hands full as he takes the floor for the third time in four nights, especially considering the scoring load he's shouldered in the past two contests.
What to Look For
The wear and tear of playing four games in five nights will be a factor tonight in Atlanta, especially after last night's double-overtime thriller. Containing Teague's penetration is crucial to slowing the Hawks, a task that falls primarily to Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni. Both starting guards played well, especially offensively, in Orlando last night, finding a nice mix between setting up their teammates and looking for their own scoring opportunities. The Felton/Tyson Chandler pick and roll resulted in a handful of alley-oops and Prigioni softened up the defense by knocking down three of four 3-point attempts. With Shumpert out, expect to see J.R. Smith to return to the starting lineup again tonight.