The Atlanta Hawks have won six straight after capturing a 117-98 victory over the visiting New York Knicks. Atlanta is now the only Eastern Conference team on the season with 20 victories.
In the first quarter New York came out scorching hot, shooting 14-of-22 overall. Knicks’ superstar Carmelo Anthony led the way with nine points in the opening period. New York outscored Atlanta 33-22 in the stanza, holding a 21-6 lead at one point.
In the second frame, Atlanta showed its resilience, besting New York 38-31 to cut into the Knicks’ 10-point lead. Jeff Teague led all Hawks scorers with nine points, on a perfect 2-of-2 from the field and 4-of-4 from the free-throw line. Atlanta entered the half down 63-60.
The Hawks owned the third period, outscoring the Knicks 27-12. Paul Millsap added 11 points and five rebounds for Atlanta as the Hawks took a 12 point lead into the final period of play.
The fourth quarter saw Atlanta build a commanding 24-point lead, while outscoring New York 30-20 in the quarter. The Hawks used a balanced effort in the final period, en route to putting New York away 117-98.
Paul Millsap led all scorers with 22. Millsap was joined in twin-figures by Al Horford (19), Jeff Teague (17), Dennis Schroder (10) and Mike Scott (18). The Hawks outscored the Knicks 57-35 in the second half.
New York was paced in scoring by Carmelo Anthony’s 18. Anthony was joined in double-figures by Arron Afflalo (10), Derrick Williams (12), Langston Galloway (11) and Lance Thomas (12). With the loss the Knicks’ record drops to 14-17.
In his post-game conference Atlanta Coach Mike Budenholzer gave credit to Kent Bazemore and Thabo Sefolosha’s second-half defensive performance against Carmelo Anthony. After scoring 12 first-half points, Anthony was held to just six in the final 24 minutes of play.
Coach Budenholzer went on to state: “I think we just tried to make his catches more difficult, tried to make him catch it further away from the basket. We played more physical and made it more tough, and just tried to make it more difficult. I thought Baze in the second half, and the third quarter, was denying him and making his catches tough. And Thabo…activity and a lot of the same. Those two guys’ energy and effort were keys.”
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