Pre-Game News and Notes
Hawks vs Knicks
The Knicks were terrible in every facet of the game last night in Philadelphia against the 76ers and will look to bounce back tonight against the Hawks in New York. Their lack of effort right from the opening tip doomed them and head coach Mike Woodson was not pleased. Tonight in front of a home crowd and playing against Woodson’s old team should be enough to get the Knicks going from the beginning and will look to get off to a good start on a five game home stand.
Last night, understandably so, Raymond Felton looked out of sync after missing about five weeks with the broken bone on his left pinkie. Tonight the Knicks will hope to see progress from Felton who was a step slow on defenses last night and out of sync on offense as he shakes off the rust.
The Knicks count on Felton to create some havoc for opposing defenses with his ability to get to the rim and penetrate, giving the Knicks an added dimension to the offense that Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni were unable to provide.
The game tonight will be won on the defensive end. For the Knicks, containing the Hawks while they are on offense and exploiting them while playing offense will not be easy but something that is a necessity to win; if the Knicks cannot keep the Hawks from scoring they will not win.
Coming into the game the Hawks rank seventh in the NBA in field goal percentage and 13th in opponents field goal percentage. It will be a struggle to score against the Hawks, but one area they should be able to exploit is the three point shot.
The Hawks struggle at stopping their opponents from knocking down three pointers, allowing opponents to shoot 37.0 percent from the three point line. This should bode well for the Knicks, whose offense revolves heavily around knocking down perimeter jumpers.
On the flip side, the Knicks will have to step up their perimeter defense and stop the Hawks, who are ranked fourth in the NBA in three point shooting at 38.0 percent, from getting going from the perimeter. The Hawks have multiple deep threats the Knicks will have to keep an eye on is Kyle Korver, who is shooting his three pointers at a 47.1 percent clip. The Hawks also have four more players that shoot it at 37 percent or better in DeShawn Stevenson, Jeff Teague, Anthony Morrow and John Jenkins.
-Can He keep the Streak Alive?
Carmelo Anthony has struggled in some games with his shot, but the points have kept piling up for him as he averages 29.1 points per game on the season, good for second in the NBA. While the scoring average stays that high Anthony is approaching some Knicks history as well.
Anthony has scored 20+ points in 28 consecutive games, tying him with Patrick Ewing for second longest in franchise history. If he is able to score at least 20 points against the Hawks tonight, he will tie Richie Guerin for the franchise record of 29 straight games.
The Knicks will hope that Anthony reaches that plateau as they struggle to score the basketball when he does not get going himself from the get go.