PATHETIC! Knicks Blow 17-Point Lead, Fall to Hawks 107-98

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Weak. Weak in all facets: defense, mentally, offensive execution… you name it. Not even 24 hours after squandering a 14-point lead against the tanking Magic, the Knicks repeated their disgraceful play in allowing another team to let their guards run amuck and a random player get a career high (Mike Scott, 30 points off the bench) as the Hawks embarrassed them in the fourth quarter. And keep in mind this was with two of the Hawks’ best players, Paul Millsap and Al Horford, out with injuries.

This team is hopeless. Just sit back and watch the train wreck.

STRONG FIRST HALF: Outside of a bad defensive run early in the second quarter, the Knicks played well on both sides of the court. Over the last nine minutes of the half, they went on a 29-6 run to take a 52-39 lead. Overall, they outscored the Hawks 29-15 in the second quarter. Melo had 19 points, Chandler 13 rebounds, and all seemed well for NY. But if you had watched this team recently, you knew no lead was safe, and New York showed their usual true colors over the second half.

A LAZY TEAM GETS SUBPAR RESULTS: After coming out strong going up 56-39, the Knicks started to do what they always do — take their foot off the gas and start going against everything they got them success. The defensive rotations started coming slower, allowing guys like DeMarre Carroll and Mike Scott to swish open threes and drive to the basket. Jeff Teague suddenly realized the Knicks guards are the worst defensive group in the league and started driving to the rim at will.

By the beginning of the fourth, the Hawks had rattled off 3 consecutive treys to take a 77-73 lead. They never looked back.

HARDAWAY JR. – HOW CAN DEFENSE BE SO BAD???: No one was really good defensively tonight, but the player who stood out as the absolute worst was Tim Hardaway Jr. Now, we all love our fearless rookie, but that’s no excuse for the woeful defense he exhibited over and over. He makes Steve Novak look like Scottie Pippen. On fast breaks, his feet moved like a newborn deer. When attempting to guard Jeff Teague, he got blown by at will for layups.

You could tell the schooling was rattling him on the offensive end, as his normal sharp-shooting eroded into a 3/10 night (1/5 from three).

YOU ALREADY KNOW WITH FELTON: Our usual whipping boy started off good with six assists in the first half. But as usual, he was another Knicks guard getting blown by on defense, giving up three-pointers and bricking open shots.

4TH QUARTER FUCKERY: For the rest of the season, every Knicks fourth quarter should be accompanied with Benny Hill theme music. They were outscored 39-25, and Melo had to come back within 3 minutes, making his rest ridiculously short. He tried to will us to another win, but another strong effort (35 points, 52% shooting) was wasted.

KILL IT WITH FIRE: Hey Knicks, want to ensure that Melo sticks around this offseason? The best thing you can tell him is that no one, with the possible exception of Hardaway, will be back. That’s right, I want this whole team gone. Watching them is now making me physically ill. Buy them all out like Metta and Beno.

[Video] Bargnani’s Threes Lead Knicks Over Hawks 95-91

Oh, man, it was a great way to kind of get back on track. Any time you can win on the road, that’s always a big win. Much better effort than we put forth in that San Antonio game. I’m glad to see that we responded in that fashion and put that game behind us. – CARMELO ANTHONY

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Despite playing their worst 12 minutes of the season in the third quarter, the Knicks regrouped under the sharp shooting of Andrea Bargnani and Carmelo Anthony to post a sorely needed victory over the Atlanta Hawks last night at Philips Arena. Team owner James Dolan guaranteed a victory and the squad didn’t disappoint in spite of making the contest much harder than it needed to be.

FIRST HALF EXCELLENCE: Even with the specter of  Iman Shumpert being traded, the team came out composed and very efficient. The ball movement was strong and JR Smith in the starting lineup added another much-needed weapon (JR went 3-4 from downtown in the opening 12 minutes). Melo was abusing Paul Millsap inside and Andrea Bargnani (20 pts, 11 rebounds) was actually boxing out and taking down rebounds (making up for his shot getting swatted by Kyle Korver of all people). Speaking of Korver, the Knicks held him scoreless in the first half, much of it behind Shumpert’s close-out defense.

3RD QUARTER FUTILITY: The Knicks came out lifeless for the third quarter and were outscored 10-23, allowing the Hawks to erase a 10-point halftime deficit (55-45) to take a slim 68-63 lead into the fourth. The Knicks offense became stagnant isolations with most of the chucking coming from Melo (9-25, 25 PTS), who was out of sync in the paint and on the perimeter. On defense, the inability of Raymond Felton to keep Jeff Teague in front of him allowed Atlanta to get several fast break points and repeated slams off cuts from Horford.

BARGNANI CLOSES THE SHOW: With the main starters on both teams resting, New York tightened up their defense and took advantage of Hawks point guard rookie Dennis Schroder, who committed four turnovers. Pablo Prigioni played a huge part in this area by being his usual pesky self. The Knicks shooting return to form behind Bargnani, who hit a few three-pointers to put the game out of a reach (the dagger being a bank shot to put the Knicks up by 9 with two minutes remaining). It was a true team effort with everyone doing their part to destroy all the momentum the Hawks had built up in the third.

SHUMPERT ‘S WELL-ROUNDED CONTRIBUTIONS: Shumpert didn’t have much in the way of points (1-4, 5 points), but he had a key three-pointer in the fourth to start the Knicks run, and he kept the offense going with his passing (9 assists). He also added 4 steals and 6 rebounds. I love Kenneth Faried too, but show me a game he can contribute in these varied ways.

The Knicks don’t get to rest on their laurels. They’re back in action tonight against old friend Jeremy Lin and the rest of the Houston Rockets.