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Hawks' defensive woes continue in loss to Knicks

The Atlanta Hawks couldn't overcome 38 points by Arron Afflalo in a 111-97 loss to the New York Knicks Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

It certainly wasn't the way the Atlanta Hawks were looking to come out of a four-day break. The Hawks laid an egg on Sunday with a 111-97 loss to the New York Knicks thanks in large part to some lazy defense and some hot shooting by the Knicks and in particular Arron Afflalo.

Atlanta trailed 22-21 at the end of the first quarter but things quickly came apart in the second. New York outscored Atlanta 33-24 in the second and pushed the lead to 10 at the half. Every time the Hawks made a charge in the second half, the Knicks had an answer usually in the form of another jumper from Afflalo who torched Atlanta with a game-high 38 points.

The Hawks' defensive effort was lacking from the start particularly in transition. The Knicks pushed the ball at every opportunity early and found open looks at the three-point line.

Paul Millsap and Kent Bazemore did their best to keep the Hawks in it. Millsap logged a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds to go along with six assists. Bazemore continued his recent string of good offensive performances with 18 points. Jeff Teague and Al Horford added 13 points each while Shelvin Mack added 10 off the bench.

Robin Lopez finished with a double-double of his own with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Kristaps Porzingis added 14 points for the Knicks.

The Hawks will get an off day to ponder the loss on Monday before the two teams meet again on Tuesday in a rematch at Philips Arena.