The New York Knicks played the Atlanta Hawks today, their first game since being embarrassed by the Cavaliers in Cleveland. Not only did the Knicks want to bounce back from their bad loss, but they wanted to win this game for Mike Woodson, the former Hawks coach.
The Knicks had a slow start to the game and allowed the Hawks to go on a 10-0 run early on. The Knicks' stars were not knocking down shots from the perimeter and were struggling on that end of the court.
However, as the quarter progressed both Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire found their groove. Stoudemire had five points in the first quarter, but he only played five minutes in the period because of two personal fouls.
Although the Hawks were shooting extremely well in the first quarter, the Knicks matched their every move. New York was without Tyson Chandler and his absence was felt on the defensive end.
After 12 minutes of play, the Knicks and Hawks were all knotted up at 31. The game was offensive oriented for the majority of the quarter, but the final minutes saw an increase in defense activity. Carmelo Anthony led the way for the Knicks with 12 points and as a team the Knicks shot 58 percent while the Hawks were at 63 percent.
Neither team was able to open up a large lead in the second quarter and the squads continued to shoot the ball well. The Knicks had moments where they looked extremely good, but at times they were playing lackadaisically. Their defense was not very sharp and that allowed the Hawks to get easy buckets near the basket.
Through two quarters, the Knicks faced a 65-60 deficit. Anthony was the Knicks' leading scorer with 20 points and Stoudemire put in 11 points in ten minutes. As a team, the Knicks shot 60 percent from the floor and the Hawks were at 59 percent. However, Atlanta was more successful from the three point arc and had nailed six more than New York.
The Knicks began the second half shooting extremely well from the field and connecting on five early three point attempts. On top of that, the Knicks were playing stellar defense and it seemed like they would open up a large lead. Momentum had shifted the Knicks' way and they were clicking on both ends of the court.
The Hawks did make a nice push in the latter half of the third quarter, but the Knicks went on a nice run to end the period and took the lead, 94-93. Anthony took on the offensive load for the team and hurt the Hawks from the paint and the perimeter.
The Knicks had another hot start to the quarter and this time Stoudemire was the catalyst to the surge. However, the Hawks used their three-point shooting to get back into the game and eventually take the lead.
In the latter portion of the fourth quarter, the Knicks and Hawks went back-and-forth and there was definitely a playoff atmosphere in the arena. The Knicks and Hawks came down to the final seconds and New York needed a defensive stop to win the game.
The Knicks allowed the Hawks to attack the basket on the final play, but luckily Marvin Williams missed the dunk and the Knicks won 113-112. Anthony finished the game with 39 point and Stoudemire put in 22.