Carmelo Anthony was hot. Real hot. Bernard King in 1984 hot. The Hawks didn't double. Carmelo kept scoring.
And yet, despite Anthony making every shot he could think of, despite 36 points in three quarters, the Hawks were tied going into the fourth quarter against the Knicks.
At this point, Josh Smith and Al Horford had combined for nine points. Nine points through three quarters between the two of them.
Still, the game was tied.
So if I told you that Horford and Smith would nearly double that combined production in the fourth quarter, scoring seven points on 3-4 shooting, you'd feel pretty good, right?
And if I added that Carmelo would only add four more points to his total in the fourth quarter, even better, right?
Well, I would, too -- and we'd all be wrong.
Between an insane amount of turnovers early in the quarter, when Shelvin Mack took over from Jeff Teague at the point, and a defense-free policy inside that allowed Ray Felton and JR Smith to go bananas for 20 points on 9-12 shooting, the Hawks got blitzed and was outscored by 13 points to get beat at home.
So stark the contrast between an inspired third quarter effort that saw the Hawks shoot 58 percent and outscore the Knicks by seven in that quarter and the fourth, which saw the Hawks meekly go into an offensive shell, despite hitting 50 percent in the quarter, and were unable to capture the mojo they'd acquired the quarter before.
Felton used the pick and roll lack of defense by the Hawks, catching Al Horford on consecutive possessions out of position and too-easily made layups to take advantage of the Hawks downturn on offense. The Hawks allowed 16 point in the paint in the fourth to a team rarely known for scoring points in the paint, evidenced by their last place standing in that category.
That downturn saw five early-quarter turnovers by the Hawks due to the surprising lack of ability to feed the post from the perimeter, a problem that had been present throughout the Joe Johnson years but hadn't reared its ugly head much this season, if at all. Anthony Tolliver in particular, and even Mack failed at a questionable lob entry pass to the post as well, leading to a JR Smith steal.
Such a shame because, as mentioned before, the Hawks were right there, and the bench crew who started the fourth really put the team in quicksand and they never were able to get out.
Happy Points now, people!
Ivan Johnson vs. JR Smith: I don't know what was said, but loved seeing Ivan pick up the slack for the fallen Zaza by baiting Smith into a technical. Well done, sir.
KYLE KORVER!!! Six threes, 25 points and TWO blocked shots. He was so hot, the Hawks should have had him playing point and center along with his wingly duties. Couldn't ask for much more from the guy. What a year this guy is having.
It looks like a bad loss, but if this were a playoff series starting tomorrow, you'd be alright with it, right?
9-19 from the free throw line for the good guys -- wasting a 20-10 personal foul differentiation and a 19-12 advantage in free throws attempted.
Seven of those misses came from Smith, who was a groan-inducing 0-7 from the line.
Did I mention how good Korver's game was?
Didn't seem to matter how good Smith played Anthony -- maybe he could have made Melo work more before catching the ball, but I thought Anthony was well contested on a lot of his shots, but he is soooo hot right now, the ball isn't even hardly touching rim when it goes through.
Horford struggled with aggressiveness, which is a usual against a much bigger matchup like Tyson Chandler, but Tyson only played 23 minutes. Kenyon Martin played the rest so it was unusual to see rush his shots as much as he was against Martin.
Smith's pass to Ivan from beyond the three point line in transition was classic Josh. Five assists for he and Horford to go with Teague's nine.
Admit it, you missed Mike Woodson when he stared in disbelief when Iman Shumpert helped off Korver and then less than 90 game second later, he did it again. Woody stared at Shumpert as he ran past the coach back down the court on offense. Classic Woody.
In a related note, Shumpert played zero minutes in the fourth quarter after playing all 12 minutes to start the game. Korver got one shot in the fourth quarter.
Hawks play Friday at home against Philadelphia and then it's off to San Antonino Saturday before they get three days off before playing the Sixers again Wednesday, this time at Philly.