WHAT IT MEANS: Mike Woodson failed to get a win against his former team and the Knicks fall back to .500 (26-26). The Knicks looked tired and flat early, made a strong push late, but in the end, didn't have enough against the Hawks.
A WASTED PERFORMANCE: When Amare Stoudemire went down with a back injury, Carmelo Anthony kept saying that he needed to step up and he has been doing it in a big way. For the second straight game, Anthony showed grit through and ailing groin and put the offense on his shoulders. This time, Anthony scored 36 points with 9 rebounds and 5 steals. It was his first 30-point game since Jan. 20, when he scored 35 against Milwaukee.
THE GOOD: Another big game for Iman Shumpert. The rookie guard sparked the Knicks offense for most of the third quarter for the brief period that Anthony wasn’t torching the Hawks. His intensity on both ends of the court kept the sleepwalking Knicks in the game. He tied his career-high with 25 points.
THE BAD: Baron Davis struggled. Clearly hampered by a sore hamstring, Davis went to the locker room in the third quarter to have his leg re-wrapped but appeared to struggle some with his mobility. Davis also struggled running the offense and threw a handful of bad turnovers, getting caught in air before throwing the ball away. The Knicks are already being hit hard with injuries with Jared Jeffries expected to miss another week with a sore right knee. Amare Stoudemire out with a back injury and Jeremy Lin having missed his third straight game with a sore knee and expecting to miss Saturday’s game against Cleveland.
And that’s only part of it. The Knicks were flat in the first half and couldn’t find any offense outside of Anthony, who scored 19 in the first half. They had no answers for Josh Smith (23 points) or Joe Johnson for the first three quarters and compounded matters with turnovers. Johnson led the Hawks with 28.
The Knicks bench was also absent Friday, illustrated by the fact that Steve Novak had just two shots and scored three points.
THE UGLY: Joe Johnson repeatedly toasted Landry Fields. It started in the first quarter and Woodson went to J.R. Smith off the bench with 6:26 left in the first quarter. But Smith spent most of the game in foul trouble and missed his first seven shots. Then there’s Willie Green. The Hawks reserve tied a season-high with 20 points, scoring 15 in the fourth. He had previously scored a total of 20 points in his last six games.
BOLD PLAY OF THE GAME: Shumpert got caught underneath a pick at the time of the key leaving, Joe Johnson wide open to nail a three-pointer than put Atlanta ahead 85-78 and created some breathing from for Atlanta with about seven minutes to play. Jeff Teague intercepted a cross-court pass for a breakaway layup and the Knicks never made another credible threat.
UP NEXT: New York host the Cleveland Cavaliers Saturday with a chance to start another winning streak. The Knicks will definitely have their hands full with Kyrie Irving, but their also playing their best defense of the season and Cleveland has lost five in a row.
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