5 Things To Know: Knicks Return to MSG for Matinee Matchup Against Hawks
12:00 PM EST | Madison Square Garden
TV: MSG Network
Radio: ESPN NY 98.7 FM
5 Things To Know:
1. Following two straight victories, the Knicks fell on Thursday night against a Wizards team in desperate search of a win. New York made the game interesting by trimming the lead to just eight points after trailing by 23 points with 5:14 remaining in the contest. The Knicks unleashed a 47-point fourth quarter but could not overcome the large deficit and the hot shooting from Washington. Thursday's fourth period scoring total was the most in a quarter since Nov. 18, 1988 (47 in second quarter at Philadelphia) and six points shy of the overall Knicks mark for points in a quarter. Thursday’s game was the second of a back-to-back for New York and the team received a day off to recover on Friday before returning to the practice floor on Saturday afternoon.
2. A player to keep an eye on is Brandon Jennings. Admittedly, Jennings has struggled this season in finding his offensive rhythm. The point guard may have gained some momentum after scoring 15 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s game. As the Knicks attempted a massive comeback, Jennings erupted in a scoring binge that also included 10 dimes in the final box score. Statistically, the 17-point outing is the best performance from Jennings this year as he is averaging 7.1 points per game.
3. The Knicks are back at Madison Square Garden where they have won four of their five games this season and boast a 4-2 mark. At home, New York is averaging 104.5 points per game and a 12.5 margin of victory with three straight wins at the Mecca entering today’s matinee matchup against the Hawks.
4. The Hawks have floated from middle of the pack to Eastern Conference contender for several years, which may have triggered their roster shakeup this past summer. Longtime big man Al Horfrod departed for Boston and starting point guard Jeff Teague was dealt in a three-team deal with the Indiana Pacers and Utah Jazz. When the dust settled, the Hawks featured Dennis Schroder at the point position and acquired former All-Star and Atlanta native Dwight Howard in place of Horford. Through 12 games, the Hawks are near the top of the Eastern Conference with a 9-3 overall record while ranking No. 1 in defensive rating, No. 2 in net rating, and fourth in pace in the NBA.
5. After six straight wins, Atlanta suffered a narrow defeat to the Hornets on Friday evening. Howard was ejected late in the fourth quarter and Charlotte scored nine straight points to upend Atlanta in a competitive Eastern Conference tilt. Charlotte outscored the Hawks 25-16 in the final quarter en route to a win that placed the Hornets in the fourth spot in the conference while Atlanta holds on to the No. 2 position behind the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Hawks are strong on their home floor with a home record of 6-1 but just 3-2 away from Philips Arena. Over the course of the next eight games, Atlanta will be tested with seven of those contests on the road, including Sunday’s matinee in New York.