The Knicks dropped the second game of their season-opening back-to-back, falling to 1-1 with a 112-101 loss to the Hawks in New York’s home opener at MSG.
The game began as a close one, with the Knicks and Hawks trading runs and New York managing to stay in the game. The Knicks stumbled at the end of the first, falling behind 30-20, but came out roaring at the start of the second and briefly held a one-point lead.
But Atlanta bounced right back, taking advantage of the Knicks’ sloppiness on both ends and taking a sixteen-point lead into the intermission. The lead grew to over 20 at the start of the third, before the Knicks picked themselves up and made it a game.
The Knicks closed the gap to 12 by the end of the third, but the reigning Eastern #1 seed kept the reigning Eastern cellar-dwellers at arm’s length until the final buzzer, comfortably wrapping up Atlanta’s first win of the season.
The Hawks were led by 23 points from Jeff Teague and 21 from Al Horford. Former Knick Tim Hardaway Junior did not play.
Carmelo Anthony struggled for the Knicks, but managed to get his points through simple volume shooting, putting up 25 on 10-27 shooting. Melo also had seven boards, three assists and three steals in 32 minutes.
Kristaps Porzingis had 10 points, eight rebounds, three steals and a block, but also had five fouls and four turnovers. Porzingis had the highlight play of the night, with a steal-spin-slam combo that got the crowd roaring.
Kyle O’Quinn had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Robin Lopez had 18 points, but had five turnovers. The Knicks as a team turned the ball over 21 times.
New York shot 41% from the field and 21% from three.The Hawks shot 51% from the field and 42% from three, and got to the line 26 times, sinking 18 of their tries from the stripe to negate the Knicks’ efficiency from the line (19-21).
The Knicks had some awful stretches in this game, but they also had some very good moments. The issue was that they only showed up in stretches— on both ends, they seemed to just shut down half the time, leading to some ridiculously sloppy passes, some bafflingly wide-open threes allowed, and some downright clumsy drops of the ball. They didn’t get much help from the refs (even Reggie Miller felt bad for them) but they put themselves at the mercy of the whistle by allowing the Atlanta guards slash through the perimeter and into the paint. Jose Calderon and Sasha Vujacic might have to make way for Jerian Grant and Langston Galloway at the top of the rotation before long. And Arron Afflalo’s return can’t come soon enough for that backcourt.
Moreover, the Knicks just couldn’t buy a bucket. Even good looks were clanking off the rim.
The Knicks will have their off nights. If the off nights look like this— a loss by a pretty reasonable margin to a team that won 60 games last year— New York will be a lot better than last year. There were some frustrating slip-ups tonight, but also a few positives.
And Kristaps looks legit. Good thing we had our draft pick that year.
New York’s next matchup is Saturday night on the road against the Wizards.