Thabo and Melo jaw after Melo’s Flagrant 2 foul. Curtis Compton.In what felt like a Playoff game the Atlanta Hawks defeated the New York Knicks 102-98 in Overtime
In front of a raucous Philips Arena crowd, the Hawks prevailed against the Knicks 102-98 in OT. Early on, The Hawks looked like they were bound to post a big night offensively, storming out to a 8-2 lead within the first 3 minutes. However, Carmelo Anthony heated up and both teams tilted back and forth and the result was a 25-22 Knicks lead through the First Quarter. New York began to pull away from the Hawks a bit in the 2nd quarter as their lead reached as high as 8 points. Once again, the momentum shifted in the game as Dennis Schroder would lead the Hawks on a 17-4 run. Things would get wild with 3:08 remaining before Halftime. Carmelo Anthony took exception to being defended tightly by Thabo Sefolosha on a box out and hit him in the face with a closed-fist jab. The two players had to be separated after jawing at one another. A technical foul was called on Thabo and it appeared the refs were ready to restart play. After the Hawks protested, the refs finally agreed to take a look at the replay. To the joy (or dismay if you were a Knicks fan) of the Philips Arena crowd, Melo was hit with a Flagrant 2 and ejected from the contest. However, the Hawks did not use the ejection to their advantage as the Knicks would close the quarter on a 9-2 run to take a 47-45 lead in to the locker room at the Half.
As the 3rd Quarter began, Hawks fans were probably thinking about the 7-game losing streak. The Hawks missed wide open shot after wide open shot. Thankfully the Knicks weren’t capitalizing, they couldn’t throw it in to Lake Lanier if they were standing on a dock. Just like in the 2nd quarter, the play of Dennis Schroder kept Atlanta in the game. In the 4th Quarter, the back and forth affair continued as the Knicks surged ahead by 4 with 7 minutes remaining and it appeared the Hawks could be headed towards one of the most disappointing losses of the season. On this night, the momentum continued to shift as both teams traded big shots. Arguably, the biggest play of the game for Atlanta came with 2:15 to go. Dwight Howard was fouled as Paul Millsap hit a shot with the Hawks down 2. The officials ruled that the foul came before Millsap attempted the shot, thus sending Dwight to the line. He sunk both. The final play of regulation came down to Dennis Schroder. He drove to the lane, got a good look at a floater as time expired but missed.
For the first time this season, the game was headed to Overtime, a place that hadn’t been too kind to the Hawks as their last win was back in March 2014. If you thought overtime would be dramatic, you were absolutely correct. The back and forth affair continued until Paul Millsap got away with an offensive foul that sent the Knicks Coach Jeff Hornacek in to a raging frenzy. He would be the recipient of a technical foul and the Hawks extended their lead to 95-89. The Knicks would strike back and cut the deficit to one point on a pair of Joakim Noah free throws with 38 seconds remaining. The Hawks came up empty on the ensuing possession which gave the Knicks another chance to steal a win in Atlanta. Derrick Rose would lose the ball on a great defensive sequence and was forced to foul Dennis with 6 seconds on the clock. Dennis calmly sunk both shots to give the Hawks a 100-97 lead. On the Knicks attempt to tie the game, Kristaps Porzingis was fouled shooting a three by Thabo Sefolosha with three seconds remaining. Thankfully he missed the first which ultimately sealed the 102-98 victory for Atlanta.
Dennis attempts a late game layup. Scott Cunningham.
Dennis Schroeder continued his strong play of late leading the Hawks with 27 points on 11-20 shooting. Dwight Howard collected 22 rebounds and also scored 16 points on 6-9 shooting. Kyle Korver hit three big three pointers while the rest of the team struggled mightily from deep. Millsap struggled to find his shot as he finished with a dismal 4-20 from the floor but that could have been an effect from his severely swollen eye suffered in the Hawks loss in Minneapolis against the Timberwolves. Tim Hardaway returned from injury but did not scratch the scoring column going a dismal 0-7. For the Knicks, Derrick Rose led the way with 26 and Porzingis posted 24. Carmelo Anthony managed to score 10 in his 15 minutes before the ejection. Despite the empty seats visible on TV, The Hawks announced a sellout crowd of 19,066.
Marcus Morris shoots over Kent. Kevin Cox.
Up next, the reeling Detroit Pistons come to town Friday at 8:00 P.M. where Atlanta rapper 2Chainz will be performing at Halftime and Postgame. Detroit comes in with a disappointing 15-19 record. In their last meeting, the Pistons steamrolled the Hawks by 36 at home. The Hawks will look to avenge that loss and get back above .500.