Hawks end three-game losing streak in fantastic fashion, 116-104, over Knicks

 

The Atlanta Hawks did a few things they either had not done this season or rarely accomplished during their previous 18 games until their 116-104 victory over the New York Knicks on Friday night. The Hawks had seven players in double-figures (nearly 8 with Tyler Cavanaugh scoring eight points in 12 minutes of play) while shooting over 40 percent from three-point range (13-31), forcing 20 Knicks turnovers (compared to just 10) and for only the third time this season winning the battle on the boards 40-38. If there is such a thing as a perfect game the Hawks just treated a capacity crowd to their version. “You’d like to start better than giving up 39 [points] in the first quarter but defensively they found a way to get better, guys played harder and competed better,” said Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer during his postgame press conference. “The offense kind of maintained it through the game.”

The Hawks offense showed its power and potential during the second and third quarters by outscoring the Knicks 65-47. Prior to that, the Knicks were sitting pretty after going ahead 39-24 after the first quarter. Knick guard Courtney Lee came to Atlanta with a 12 points per game average and left the first quarter with 13 points, making all five of his shot attempts in the process. Former Hawks guard Tim Hardaway, Jr. got a chance to come back to Atlanta after singing with the Knicks and did not disappoint while scoring 22 points, eight of which came during the second quarter. Hardaway was cheered during a first quarter break in play. The players the fans in attendance were really cheering were wearing Hawks jerseys however, as the home team went 15-24 from the field, getting five points from rookie John Collins and on-court bets friend Marco Belinelli while also getting seven points each from Dennis Schroder and Irsan Ilyasova and six more from Kent Bazemore.

 

Down 67-59 at halftime the Hawks 30-19 third quarter sparked by impressive play in both ends by Dewayne Dedmon who went head to head with Knicks superstar Kristaps Porzingis and in the end may not have outscored the man fondly known as the unicorn for his unique assortment of skills, height and age (or lack thereof) but he sure gave him a heck of a run en route to 16 point and six rebound night. Budenholzer was quick to praise Dedmon’s defense, “The work Dewayne Dedmon does on both ends of the court and the effort he gave on Porzingis was just great.” A Dedmon dunk would tie the game at 72 and hsxi two free throws at the 6:11 mark would tie it again at 78. A Schroder pull up jumper would put Atlanta up 80-78 and the Hawks would not look back from that point.

 

Leading by three points to start the fourth quarter the Hawks would be leading nine points following a Cavanaugh three-pointer. The Hawks would score 100 points before giving up 100 points for the first time this season at the 5:23. It truly was a seminal game for what has been an odd season thus far for the Hawks.

 

The “A-T-L” chants started  with the team ahead 105-97 with 3:15 remaining in the game and consecutive three-pointers by Belinelli (15 points) and Taurean Prince (13 points) put icing on what was a sweet piece of basketball cake. Schroder led all Hawks with 26 points and eight assists while Bazemore added 11 points and six assists of his own. Along with Porzingis (28 points) the Knicks had two ther 20-point scorers in Hardaway, Jr. (22) and Lee (26). Only former Georgia Tech standout Jarrett Jack would have double-digit in assists with 14 to only two turnovers.

“It was a good team win,” said Budenholzer.

 

Atlanta will host the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night.

 
 

 

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