A comeback seemed in the works for the Hawks (17-25), playing on the second night of a back-to-back, until they folded in the final few minutes of a 117-108 loss to the Knicks (22-21) Saturday at State Farm Arena.
Next up, the Hawks will take Sunday off then host Milwaukee Monday.
Below are some takeaways from the loss:
1. In streaks teams desperately want to avoid, the Hawks have now lost 10 straight games at home, dating back to Nov. 27, another loss to the Knicks. They went on to lose to the 76ers, Hornets, Nets, Rockets, Nuggets, Magic and Bulls, going winless in December, then the Heat and now the Knicks again. They are 8-11 in home games, with their most recent win at home coming against the Thunder on Nov. 22. In addition, the Hawks have lost five straight games overall.
“Very important, because when you look around the league, every team wants to be good at home and be able to protect homecourt,” Trae Young said of wanting to improve the Hawks’ home record. “We haven’t been able to do that in a long time and it’s just what it is, and we’ve got to figure out how to do it, and like I said, figure out how to win again.”
2. Getting down by as much as 17 early in the third quarter, the Hawks got it down to a more manageable deficit of 85-77 entering the fourth. They then went on a 9-0 run, which included a stellar sequence from Onyeka Okongwu where he blocked Julius Randle on one end and finished a tricky layup on the other, to make it a four-point game with 8:36 to play. Overall, the Hawks got a great stretch from their bench to start the fourth, with the hot hand in Danilo Gallinari staying in the game when starters came back in at the 6:20 mark, hitting a 3-pointer to narrow it to 101-98. The Hawks’ bench finished with 45 points (Gallinari with 17, Okongwu with 12, Lou Williams with seven, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot with five and Delon Wright with four).
3. Young made a layup to keep gaining on the Knicks, 103-100, but that was the last positive moment for the Hawks before they cratered, giving up a 10-0 run as the Knicks assumed complete control of the game down the stretch. In about a two-minute span, the Hawks’ chances were shot. The Hawks had actually shown better defensive effort up until that point, but rushing shots in the final minutes did the Knicks a favor, Hawks coach Nate McMillan thought. McMillan considered putting back in Okongwu, he said postgame, with Okongwu playing well defensively, but the Knicks’ lead ballooned so quickly before he got the chance.
“I think we just came in and started taking some quick shots,” McMillan said. “You’re really bailing the defense out. ... It was a 3-point lead and it shot to 15, I think, in about four or five possessions. You’ve just got to really be patient and slow down and make the defense work.”
4. Clint Capela continues to miss time with a left ankle sprain, and although Okongwu played well, the Hawks missed Capela, with the Knicks tallying 46 points in the paint to the Hawks’ 36, out-rebounding them, 52-40 (11 offensive rebounds to the Hawks’ four). Bogdan Bogdanovic (right knee soreness) also missed this game for Atlanta.
5. This was wing Cam Reddish’s first trip back to State Farm Arena after the Hawks traded him to the Knicks Thursday. Reddish didn’t play, still dealing with a right ankle sprain, but waved to the crowd as the Hawks flashed a “Thank you, Cam Reddish” message up on the jumbotron. Kevin Knox, who the Hawks received in the trade (in addition to a protected first-round 2022 pick via the Hornets) was available for the Hawks but did not play.
Knicks 117, Hawks 108 (box score)
Stat of the game: 2:18 (the amount of time in the fourth quarter it took for the Knicks to turn a three-point lead into a 13-point lead)
Star of the game: RJ Barrett (led the Knicks in scoring with 26 points, adding five rebounds, three assists and one steal)
Quotable: “It’s not been easy, but these last two games have definitely been very positive for not only me but this team, the way we look, the way we’ve been competing. ... We’ve just got to figure out how to win again.” (Young on the Hawks playing better the last two games, even if they haven’t been able to finish at the end)
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