Postgame thoughts: Hawks come up just short in the Garden
A few thoughts after the Hawks’ 106-104 loss to the Knicks:
– The Hawks did exactly what you want to do against the Knicks: Make them shoot their way out of a game by taking contested threes. Unfortunately the long ball was working for them tonight (16-27), and there’s not much you can do about that. They’ll win some games when their threes drop. They’ll lose a lot more when the shots don’t fall.
– Jeff Teague had his way with the dribble drive tonight, scoring 27 points (18 in the first half) on 9-15 shooting. Teague has now scored 20+ points in three of the past six games after 10 straight games without hitting that benchmark. Good to see him looking to score more, especially without Lou Williams available.
– Kyle Korver extended his consecutive games with a three-pointer streak to 38 with a third quarter triple, though it was a quiet game for him (13 points) compared to the explosion Friday against Boston.
– Atlanta came into the game with 200+ more turnovers on the season than the Knicks and gave it away 19 times tonight, including two in the final three possessions. When they did get a shot up, it went in at a 60 percent rate. The Hawks became the first NBA team to shoot 60 percent or better in a game and lose this season.
– The Hawks have now scored at least 104 points in four straight games. They scored 104 Monday, 104 Wednesday and 104 tonight in addition to the 123 they scored on Friday. Hard to believe this is the same group that only mustered 58 against Chicago. The offense certainly seems to be there now.
– DeShawn Stevenson was huge off the bench tonight. So huge, in fact, that Larry Drew elected to stay with him down the stretch instead of staying with starter Devin Harris. Stevenson responded by going 5-7 from the field (15 points) and more importantly, holding Carmelo Anthony without a three pointer in the fourth quarter during a stretch where he was tasked with guarding the All Star. Stevenson hasn’t been able to play a lot lately because he’s not cleared to play in back-to-back games. The Hawks had eight back-to-backs in six weeks from early December until last weekend but are now in the middle of a 17-day stretch without any. The result? He should start seeing more minutes again.
There’s not a whole lot you can say about a game like that. Anthony made the big shots when he had to, but this was the best week the Hawks have had (3-1) in quite some time, and they capped it off with a valiant effort against the second best team in the conference on the road. They will play just two games over the next eight days, both at home, so hopefully we’ll see a rested group ready to rebound as we hit the final stretch before All Star break.