The Atlanta Hawks beat the New York Knicks by a final score of 110-90 at Madison Square Garden.
The game was relatively close until the fourth quarter, but the Knicks continued to let the Hawks penetrate the lane for easy finishes at the basket. When they weren’t finishing at the rim, the Hawks jump shooters frequently found themselves open thanks in part to the Knicks lack of effort on defense and oft-switching defensive gameplan. After a 10-0 start at home during the 2012-2013 season the Knicks have started 1-5 at home thus far. Obviously they have to get that turned around.
The Knicks defense once again let them down and the upsetting part for Knicks fans is that it’s mostly effort. The Knicks give up a lot of wide open looks and when they don’t score on the offensive end, they don’t try on the defensive end. Case and point the Hawks shot 56% from the floor tonight and 41% from three. Get a hand in someone’s face!
Inefficient shooting from Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith was a big difference. Carmelo Anthony, who finished 8-21 from the field, isn’t all to blame, he kicked the ball out multiple times tonight to open shooters who simply didn’t make the shot. Anthony can only do so much to try and shed the “ball-hog” reputation he has gained over the years, but when his team isn’t helping there isn’t much he can do. There are times when it looked like Anthony vs. The Hawks by himself tonight.
J.R. Smith’s shooting woes continued and yet he continued to jack up bad shot after bad shot. He finished 3-18 from the field, including 1-9 from three, and just couldn’t get his jump shot in rhythm. The frustrating part is that he doesn’t even try to drive to the basket, but instead would rather attempt a contested fadeaway jumper from 15-18 feet out. J.R. should drive to the basket and kick it out if contested, but nothing with this team is that simple right now. After the game Smith could be seen with his head down almost in tears. Clearly he has some soul searching to do.
Raymond Felton continued to struggle, which is an understatement, and it’s now coming to fruition that he might have some type of hamstring injury. It’s gotten so bad that the Knicks actually trust J.R. Smith and Carmelo Anthony to be the primary ball handler on most possessions. Felton’s shot needs to start falling or Mike Woodson might have to consider starting Pablo Prigioni and playing Beno Udrih more. The bigger issue really lies at the defensive end where Felton can’t keep any ball handler in front of him these days. It might be time to start looking for a new point guard in the big apple.