Knicks Run Over Undermanned Hawks At MSG, In Miami Tonight

Published on: 23rd February, 2012


Knicks Run Over Undermanned Hawks At MSG, In Miami Tonight  | read this item

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New York — The Atlanta Hawks are a pretty good team when they have all their pieces in place. Tonight, at Madison Square Garden, the Hawks were not only without all of their pieces, they were without their two best players, Joe Johnson and Al Horford. The Knicks took full advantage and blew the Hawks out, 99-82 in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the score would indicate.

After watching the Knicks build up a first half 60-35 lead, it was clear the Hawks were not going to have a chance to compete tonight unless they brought Lou Hudson, Bill Bridges, and Zelmo Beatty out of retirement or, such NBA dignitaries as Marvin Williams, Zaza Pachulia (no relation to Zsa Zsa Gabor), and Jeff Teague all of a sudden turned into productive players. Or, if the Knicks allowed them back into the game.

It was not to be. But, some second half Knicks defensive lapses did pull the big lead down to 13 with 2:41 to go in the third quarter. But, the Knicks put the metal to the pedal and went on a 12-0 run to push the lead back to 25, 81-56, early in the fourth, and as they say, that was that.

The Knicks are incorporating several new players into the fold with one game tomorrow night in Miami before the All-Star break. Not only do they have a new, first-time starter at point guard in the global wonder, Jeremy Lin, but they have welcomed Baron Davis, J.R. Smith, and Carmelo Anthony (off the injured list) into Mike D’Antoni’s rotation in the past two games.

With their newly reconstituted lineup, all of that talent is a good thing for D’Antoni but he sees the challenges ahead to get them all to play together.

“You can see we still have a lot of guys out of sync, not quite there but we are just trying to scratch these wins out,” said D’Antoni. “We are just trying to scratch these wins out, get the wins and get us to the practice court the next five days after the Miami game. Then, we’ll see what happens.”

Lin, appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated for the second consecutive week (a first for any New York athlete) had another solid game in this, the ninth start of his young career. Lin finished with 17-points and 9 assists, committing only four turnovers.

“Right now we have a lot of scorers, so I have to get the scorers the ball where they need the ball and get people shots,” Lin said. “I don’t have to shoot as much with these guys coming back.”

D’Antoni, meanwhile, said he talked to Anthony before the game.

“He’s got to be Carmelo Anthony. Attack. Go. You get the ball, go,” D’Antoni said. “Do your thing. You don’t have to fit in. What’s fitting in? Jeremy will orchestrate it.”

Anthony seemed fine with how that played out Wednesday, saying “That’s the only thing I want to do, have fun playing ball, making guys better, taking shots that are open.”

Besides the fast-break dunk, Lin also found Anthony for a third-quarter 3-pointer at the top of the key after grabbing the rebound of a missed Tyson Chandler free throw, then for a rather tame dunk later in the quarter with a delivery across the key.

The newcomers, Davis and  Smith (12 points) got into the act, hooking up on a pair of alley-oops to shake off some of their rust.

Davis’s six assists were particularly noteworthy, giving the Knicks 15 from the point, although he also committed five turnovers and ran out of gas, prompting D’Antoni to reinsert Lin with 5 minutes 3 seconds left and the Knicks up 20.

“I was just a little more aggressive, and I was trying to have an impact in the short time I was out there,” Davis said. “But I’m still rusty.”

Notes: The Knicks left immediately after the game to catch a flight down to Miami for the nationally televised matchup with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat. Steve Novak came off the bench to score 17-points on 6-12 shooting, 5 of 10 from three-point land. Knicks have won nine out of their last 11 games.

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