Scouting Report: New York Knicks
The Hawks will have a couple of firsts when they take the court Saturday night. It’s the second night of their first back-to-back of the season, and it’s also the first opponent they’ve seen twice this year. For some of the players, it’ll be their first time inside the World’s Most Famous Arena.
Normally back-to-backs make it difficult to prepare for the second opponent because of the short window, but the Hawks have the advantage of having just played the Knicks in Atlanta three days ago, so they should know what to expect.
In Wednesday’s game, New York’s defense was stifling. The Hawks have scored at least 102 points in every game this season except Wednesday’s game, where they were held to just 91. Knicks coach Mike Woodson, who coached both Jeff Teague and Al Horford in Atlanta, defended ball screens beautifully. The Hawks re going to have to take advantage of New York’s misses and get out in transition, where they had the most success Wednesday night. If they get stuck in half-court sets, it’ll be tough to crack the Knicks’ defense, even without their anchor Tyson Chandler.
Defensively, the Hawks didn’t do a whole lot wrong Wednesday. A lot of the Knicks’ points came on the perimeter, and many of the shots were contested. There were a few defensive lapses around the three-point line, but overall it wasn’t a bad effort. The Knicks don’t pass the ball much at all, in fact they may be the definition of the ball “sticking,” but one advantage of that style of play is there aren’t a lot of opportunities for turnovers. New York had just three on Wednesday. So when pretty much every possession results in a shot, some are bound to go in.
Despite being a small team without Chandler, the Knicks are a physical team. They were able to get several offensive rebounds that led to second chance points, so Atlanta will have to make sure they have a body on everybody when the shot goes up.
The Hawks were right there on Wednesday. Better ball movement and more aggressive offense in transition should lead to a better result Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images