The Atlanta Hawks won their first overtime game since the March 18th 2014 as they outlasted the New York Knicks in overtime, 102-98. In what was an ugly affair to watch at times, the Hawks evened up the season series with the Knicks 1-1 and the victory lifts the Hawks back to .500 at 16-16. Derrick Rose led the way for the Knicks with 26 points while Kristaps Porzingis added 24 points.
An ugly game but Hawks get it done… eventually
While this was a closely contested and chippy game (no team led by more than eight points while four technical fouls and two flagrant fouls were issued) it was certainly not a pretty game. Both teams shot below 40% (37% for the Knicks, 36% for Atlanta) and both shot 7-of-27 from behind the arc. But those numbers don’t do this game justice, it was ugly to watch.
“It was scrappy. We did a lot of good things on the floor. The defense was pretty good down the stretch. We have to continue to get better.” — Dwight Howard
But the bottom line is the Hawks got this one done, snapping a long streak of losing in overtime. I want to look at the last possession of regulation, because the Hawks had the opportunity to win this game in regulation. Let’s take a look at it first.
OK, so from what I can see here this was a play designed to get Dennis Schröder into an isolation situation where Dennis could — as he did often in this game — take Rose off of the dribble and get to the rim.
As Schröder heads towards the rim — and past Derrick Rose — watch Paul Millsap, who will drift behind Kristaps Porzingis and toward the block.
In the end, Dennis got a decent shot but was he better off passing the ball to Paul Millsap, who was wide open with time left on the clock for a shot?
We go to overtime.
Some big plays in overtime included big three-pointers from Thabo Sefolosha and Kyle Korver, which helped the Hawks climb out of a three point overtime deficit, but the Hawks helped hugely by this pivotal no-call on Paul Millsap, who should’ve been called for an offensive foul on this possession:
That is an offensive foul in every way. Paul clearly leads with the forearm and clears Porzingis before passing the ball to Dwight for the dunk. Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek was called for a technical foul for — understandably — being very demonstrative with the officials following that no-call, giving the Hawks the chance to extend their lead in overtime to six points.
“I told our guys I can’t get a technical in that situation.” — Coach Jeff Hornacek
But the Knicks bounced back and found themselves in a position to win this game with the last shot of overtime. Enter Derrick Rose:
Rose decided to ignore the most obvious mismatch of the season — the 7 foot 3 Porzingis almost falling over the top of Dennis Schröder — and decides to dribble toward the baseline where he’s trapped, slips and turns the ball over.
The Hawks sealed the deal with some free throws (after Porzingis missed the opportunity to tie the game after the Hawks fouled him in the act of shooting a three-pointer), but the Knicks could’ve easily taken the lead right there with a very favorable mismatch.
But hey, if you’re the Hawks you’ll take it. Atlanta, somehow, escaping with a win.
“He’s outta here!”
Carmelo Anthony was ejected last night for this incident involving Thabo Sefolosha:
“He punched me. That was a fist right in my face.” — Thabo Sefolosha
Hard to argue with this call here, Melo very clearly hits him intentionally and Melo — who refused to talk to the media postgame — can have no complaints with this call.
It took much longer than it should’ve for the officials to actually review the hit, but they eventually did.
“I saw Coach Bud wanted a review. I’m a captain at jump ball. (The refs) only want to talk to me. I went over there and said ‘Let’s take a look at it.’ The chaos around it, there was like two minutes. They figured they might as well look at it.”— Kent Bazemore
“I’m glad the referees looked back at it and made the right call. That would have been terrible. I’m glad they took another look at it.” — Thabo Sefolosha
Dennis Schröder’s big second quarter
As has often happened this season, things were beginning to go awry for the Hawks in the second quarter: a 5-0 Knicks run extended their lead to eight points (34-26) with 7:53 in the second quarter, leading to an Atlanta timeout.
It is at this point where Dennis Schröder steps up and brings his team right back into this game, scoring 11 of the Hawks’ next 15 points to put the Hawks up 41-36.
“I just try to help the team win games and try to lead the team. Whatever it takes, I try to do it. I try to help my teammates win.” — Dennis Schröder
These points came at a crucial point in this game, we’ve seen games spiral out of control at this stage so for Dennis to step up like this and, in a way, save the Hawks was huge. Schröder eventually finished with 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting.
Good Dennis game, good Dennis game. He outplayed his opposite number in Derrick Rose and frequently beat him off of the dribble.
We could be onto something here…
Dwight Howard is beginning to get it, beginning to understand that when he grabs an offensive rebound that there could be a good shot — sometimes better than trying to put it back in himself e.g. when he’s surrounded — waiting on the perimeter if he passes it out there. Or an even better shot if it’s Kyle Korver who’s open behind the arc
These were six of the Hawks’ 24 second chance points, created by Dwight’s selflessness and recognition of the better shot. This is good, this is a good direction to be heading in. Let’s hope we see more of this in the future.
In terms of his own game Dwight had a great night, scoring 16 points while grabbing 22 rebounds. He gave Knicks center Joakim Noah a tough time underneath the rim and the overall contribution Dwight made in this game shouldn’t be overlooked. He played well.
Are we in Atlanta or….?
There are a few teams in this league whose fans will show up in numbers no matter where they travel. Teams like the Lakers and Warriors, you’ll always see and hear their fans in your home arena. With the Knicks being a big market team, you’d expect a few fans from the Atlanta area to turn up but it got ridiculous last night. Listen to this, Dennis Schröder — as he prepares to shoot two free throws — is subjected to jeers at the line and there are cheers when he misses a free throw:
A couple of great Tweets from Peachtree Hoop’s Brad Rowland, who was at the game last night, about the Knicks fans at Philips Arena:
The Hawks are playing a road game right now. This is obscene.
— Brad Rowland (@BTRowland) December 29, 2016
And my personal favorite:
Always weird when you're typing and look up to what you assume was a Hawks bucket because the crowd cheers and, uh, it wasn't the Hawks.
— Brad Rowland (@BTRowland) December 29, 2016
Yeah… Not fun. When you’re at home you should feel like you’re home. This was not that…
Another tough night for Paul
After shooting 2-for-13 against the Timberwolves on Monday, Paul Millsap shot 4-for-20 against the Knicks last night. Paul has now shot 6-for-33 in his last two games and you can’t help but wonder if the black eye he’s sporting (courtesy of an accidental elbow he caught from Dwight on Monday) played a part in this. But Paul being Paul, he wouldn’t let that slide for an excuse. He’ll be back.
On the plus side, Paul dished out six assists and didn’t turn the ball over at all and that’s always a good thing.
The return of THJ
Tim Hardaway Jr. made his return to the court last night having missed the last two games with a groin injury. However, Hardaway didn’t look totally healthy and had a tough time of things last night: zero points on 0-of-7 shooting and 0-for-2 from behind the arc in 13 minutes. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hardaway Jr. is held out of the Hawks’ next game against the Pistons, he just didn’t look like himself out there.
The Hawks (16-16) will remain in Atlanta and will welcome the Detroit Pistons to town on Friday evening, the second game of their three game home stand.