Rapid Reaction: Knicks 113, Hawks 112
April, 22, 2012
By Ian Begley | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score | Photos
WHAT IT MEANS: Marvin Williams and the Hawks couldn't convert on their last possession, allowing the Knicks to walk off the floor with an important win. New York is a half-game ahead of Philadelphia for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks also own the tiebreaker against Philly.
The Knicks' attempt to move up to sixth is still alive. They need to win their final two games and the Magic to lose their final three for the Knicks to get there.
THE GOOD: Carmelo Anthony had a big game. So did Amare Stoudemire. The fact they both played well is significant, considering the numbers say Anthony struggles with Stoudemire on the floor.
Anthony had 39 points on 14-for-32 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds. Stoudemire had 22 points and 12 rebounds.
FIELDS' DAY: Landry Fields had been awfully quiet lately, so much so that Mike Woodson removed him from the starting lineup when Stoudemire returned on Friday.
But he had a big afternoon on Sunday.
Fields had 18 points on 7-for-8 shooting, including 3-for-3 from beyond the arc.
THE BAD: Just call it the Peyton Manning affect.
Just like the Colts were awful without Manning last year, the Knicks were terrible on defense in the first half without Tyson Chandler.
Woodson decided to sit Chandler on Sunday. According to reports out of Atlanta, Woodson wanted to give Chandler a day of rest.
With their most important paint presence on the bench, the Knicks were porous on defense.
They allowed Atlanta to shoot 54 percent from the floor, including 15-for-23 from beyond the arc.
Stoudemire, who's never been confused for a strong defender, started at center in place of Chandler.
The poor defensive performance is no surprise, really. In the two previous games without Chandler, the Knicks have given up an average of 118 points per game.
BOLD PLAY OF THE GAME: To start off the fourth quarter, Stoudemire finished off a pick-and-roll with a strong one-handed dunk right over an Atlanta defender -- a good sign that he's getting his feel back after four weeks off.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Knicks have a couple of days between games. It'll be interesting to see whether Woodson decides to hold practice for his tired team, or let them rest. New York hosts the L.A. Clippers on Wednesday and then closes out the regular season with a game at Charlotte on Thursday. They should be in a battle with Philly for seventh place the rest of the way. The Sixers play their final three games on the road -- but their schedule's a bit easier than New York's slate.
Philly finishes against New Jersey (22-42), Milwaukee (30-33) and Detroit (23-40).
If Orlando loses its final three games, New York will have a chance to move to sixth. But that's unlikely. The Magic host the Bobcats on Wednesday.
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