The Atlanta Hawks faced off against the New York Knicks on Monday night in State Farm Arena as the second game in a three-game home stretch.
The Hawks (4-3) dropped their second straight game with the loss to the Knicks (4-3) by a score of 113-108, faltering late much like they did Saturday at home vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The injury report for Atlanta was lengthy ahead of this contest. The only two players who were not ruled out were Kevin Huerter and Rajon Rondo, with the former as the only one on the report who played in this game. Rajon Rondo has missed the last three games with knee soreness.
The game opened up with a lot of back-and-forth scoring, and neither team was able to jump out to a steady lead.
The Hawks were just 33% from the field through the first eight minutes of the game- a carryover from their poor shooting quarters in the second half of Saturday’s loss against the Cavaliers.
Atlanta found themselves in the hole after the Knicks pulled off a 7-0 run that lasted just under two minutes. The Knicks lead grew to 24-14 in that timespan. That forced the Hawks to take a timeout. The Hawks did not have an answer for Julius Randle as he was making shots from outside and in backing down players in the paint.
Coming out of the aforementioned timeout, Trae Young brought life to his team. He led Atlanta to finish off the last four minutes of the first quarter outscoring the Knicks 15-7. The first quarter ended with the Knicks up 31-29.
There were a total of nine lead changes in the first quarter and Young led the Hawks with 12 points off of 67% shooting in the period.
Bogi makin' tough passes look easy pic.twitter.com/PAKKQADwad— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) January 5, 2021
The Hawks played better as the second quarter waned. Young continued to get the rest of the team involved, showing off his playmaking ability.
He just sees the floor differently ♂️ pic.twitter.com/8rumElUlR6— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) January 5, 2021
Atlanta played a much more uptempo and exciting style of basketball in the second quarter, and of course, it becomes even more fun to watch when Clint Capela and John Collins are throwing down dunks.
Collins had a much better second quarter, finishing with 14 points and six rebounds at halftime. Young added 17 points of his own along with seven assists and six made free throws.
The Hawks rode a 15-4 run at the end of the quarter to secure a 58-54 halftime lead, doing a better job of stopping Randle. Randle led all scorers with 18 points at halftime. The Hawks just didn’t have much of an answer for him, switching different players onto him.
The Hawks kicked off the third quarter by going on a 15-6 run in the first 3:30, taking a 73-60 lead. Young scored or assisted on five of the six baskets during that span. He reached 10 assists with 8:52 to go in the third period- good for his third straight double double.
His playmaking ability was a difference maker in this game.
Their lead was steady for a while, but the Knicks started to work their way back in. The Knicks ended the last two minutes of the third by outscoring the Hawks 10-4. Kevin Knox hit a fadeaway 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut Atlanta’s lead to four.
The craftiness in Cam's finishes pic.twitter.com/XFEhDu4m9r— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) January 5, 2021
The score was 88-84 in favor of the Hawks at the end of the third quarter. This is the second straight game that the Hawks lost their double-digit lead at the end of the third quarter. This was eerily similar to the loss against the Cavaliers on Saturday, where the Hawks lead was diminished when Young was on the bench at the end of the third.
Trae has two elite oop targets now. pic.twitter.com/NI1rHqamMp— FOX Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnFSSE) January 5, 2021
The Knicks continued their improved play to start the fourth quarter. They reclaimed the lead from the Hawks with 8:35 to go in the game.
The two teams traded buckets for the majority of the fourth quarter, but there was a notable two-minute scoring drought for both teams starting at around the six-minute mark.
Young fouled Immanuel Quickley on a 3-point attempt late in the game, and the Hawks couldn't manage to get the lead back from there.
Cam Reddish missed a key dunk and 3-pointer that would have put the Hawks in better position at the end of the game. He took three of Atlanta’s last four shots. The Hawks ultimately fell 113-108 to the Knicks.
Randle and RJ Barrett were able to get the shots they wanted against the Hawks defense.
This is two games in a row now that the Hawks were not able to hold on to a second half lead and finish out the game strong. The Hawks gave up what was at once a 15-point lead. While that is not good, it is important to note how many players the Hawks have missing from the lineup.
Per usual, Young led the way for the Hawks. He finished with 31 points and 14 assists. Collins had 18 points and 8 rebounds, and De’Andre Hunter played well, rounding out the game with 23 points and eight rebounds.
Capela did not play in the back end of the fourth quarter after to struggling to slow down Randle, but he finished with a solid stat line. He put up 12 points and secured 12 rebounds in 31 minutes of action.
The Hawks will remain at home for a matchup against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night, which serves as the first game in back-to-back matchups with Charlotte. They will look to get back into the win column against a Charlotte team that is struggling with a 2-5 record.