By Max Marcilla
Knicks 111 Hawks 106
Coming into last nights game against Atlanta the hot topic among Knick land was the discussion of the guards. Which guard would step up? What guard should get more, or less, minutes? Which guard should be on the trading block, or even get traded?
All of those questions were answered Saturday night.
Iman Shumpert had another typical game, as the third-year pro recorded a +25, was able to defend and rebound, but once again was ineffective on offense. Shumpert attempted only 2 shots, making 1, and recording 3 points on the night.
J.R. Smith was dreadful. Smith’s shot was off, but then again, it hasn’t been on since last regular season. His defense was bad, and to make it worse, rookie guard Tim Hardaway Jr. vastly outplayed him.
Hardaway, who was selected 24th in the draft by the Knicks, went off at the Garden, accumulating 13 points on 5-10 shooting. Hardaway showed nearly every way he can score, showing off a flashy euro-step, a massive dunk, and of course, a three-ball.
Along with the 2-guards performing, the Knicks had a star at the point guard position, believe it or not. Pablo Prigioni was phenomenal tonight, as he has been throughout his 1+ year career in the NBA. Prigioni was smart, and while others were presenting their fancy moves, Prigioni was showcasing his high basketball-IQ.
Prigioni brings ball movement to an offense no matter who is on the court. The fact that a streaking Carmelo Anthony (35 points) and Andrea Bargnani (23 points) were on the court tonight didn’t hurt.
The numbers don’t lie for the Argentine national. When Prigioni was on the court, the Knicks were +17. Prigioni recorded a team-high 4 steals and 6 assists. Pablo was also a catalyst of the astonishing 27 turnovers by Atlanta.
The Knicks showed tonight why in the future they could compete with good teams. Atlanta came in to the night at 12-11, and shot 60%, but the Knicks held on, and won.
New York will host Washington at MSG Monday night game against the 9-13 Wizards.