The chemistry between players is hard to put a finger on and with Chauncey Billups sitting out with a thigh bruise it has gotten harder for the Knicks. Billups has been out since they played the Orlando Magic, but Toney Douglas is stepping up.
The New York Knicks (32-29) took a trip to Atlanta to take on the Atlanta Hawks (37-26) who sits five games ahead of them in the East standings. This was the final meeting of the four game season series, and this win for the Knicks split the season series.
New York jumped out to an 11-3 lead behind the shooting of Stoudemire and Douglas. Hinrich was the only player that scored for the Hawks in the first five minutes of the game. Fields hit a 3-pointer at the 5:35 mark to give the Knicks a 16-7 lead, but Hinrich answered with a 3-pointer of his own before they called a timeout.
Atlanta got back in it getting hot late cutting the lead to four, and at the 3:32 mark the Knicks had to regroup and called a timeout. Williams came out and hit a 3-pointer to make it 19-12. Hilton Armstrong (1 point) hit a 1-2 free-throws for the Hawks, and Pierce responded with driving layup. Teague hit back-to-back jumpers to cut the lead down to four. Carter hit a 3-pointer for the Knicks to put them up by seven only to have Crawford come back down and make a layup to put them down by five to end the period.
The Knicks struggled early in the second as the Hawks got with three on a Williams jumper to make it 26-23. Stoudemire scored at the 11:11 mark to open the period, but the Knicks did not score till Fields made a layup at the 8:02 mark to push their lead back to five. Hinrich made a jumper to get the Hawks within one, but back-to-back buckets by the Knicks pushed the lead back to five and the Hawks to another timeout.
Both teams heated up down the stretch with Johnson cutting the lead to one 34-33. Every time the Hawks got close though the Knicks would hold them off by hitting a key shot to keep the lead. With .50 seconds left in the half the Knicks were up 44-38 till Crawford hit a 3-pointer and a free-throw to put the Hawks down by two going into halftime.
Amare Stoudemire scored 26 points with seven rebounds to lead the Knicks and the game in scoring. Landry Fields added 15 points and Carmleo Anthony was held to just 14 points, but had seven assist, seven rebounds with five turnovers. Toney Douglas helped out with ten points, seven assists and five rebounds.
Anthony Carter was 2-3 from behind the arc to give the Knicks help off the bench with ten points. Shawne Williams came off the bench as well to score 12 points on 4-6 from the arc with six rebounds.
Josh Smith led the Hawks with 17 points and 11 rebounds with Kirk Hinrich adding 15 points. Joe Johnson scored 14 points, and Jamal Crawford came off the bench to add 14 points as well.
Jeff Teague only scored four points as the Hawk’s bench got out scored 27-21.
The Hawks score seven straight points to open the third with five coming from Smith who hit a 3-pointer to open the half. Atlanta took a 49-44 lead before Stoudemire scored on a jumper for the Knicks first points of the half. Anthony got them within one on a jumper and Atlanta took a timeout. Carter hit a jumper to give them a one point lead with Anthony pushing it to three on a jumper of his own. Smith gave the Hawks a one point lead with the score 53-52 forcing New York to take a timeout.
Anthony’s jumper and Williams hitting a 3-pointer gave the Knicks a two point lead. Carter then pushed it to four with a floater with .42 seconds left after stealing the ball from Teague. The Knicks were called for illegal defense so the Hawks got a free-throw that Crawford made, but Carter came down and hit a 3-pointer with .2 seconds left. The Knicks ended the period with a 62-56 lead.
Atlanta opened with a 7-2 run that put the Hawks down by one before the Knicks took a timeout. After the timeout the Knicks busted the game open with a 19-2 run that had Williams, Fields, and Roger Mason (5 points) hitting 3-pointers. The Hawks called a timeout during that run and Joe Johnson was the only Hawk to score.
The Hawks finally scored again with Hinrich hitting a 3-pointer to make the score 83-68. Williams hit another 3-pointer for the Knicks to push their lead to 16 with just under four minutes left. Crawford made a 3-pointer of his own to try and cut into the lead but the damage was already done.
Even though the Knicks were in Atlanta there was a big New York following with Hawk fans chanting MVP for Amare Stoudemire as he was shooting free-throws late in the game.