The Hawks were thwarted in their bid for a three-game winning streak with a 106-101 defeat Wednesday to the Philadelphia 76ers. Al Harrington scored 27, Tyronn Lue added 21 and Joe Johnson 17 for Atlanta, which attempted only 18 free throws to Philadelphia’s 35.
“That’s why we lost the game,” Harrington said. “When you’re a bad team, you don’t get any benefits on the calls. We know it and the media knows it.”
Despite the loss, the Hawks are making slow steps of progress. They have averaged 98.3 points the last three games after scoring just 90.4 points per game the first 18. Harrington has averaged 20.8 points in his last five games while shooting 50.6 percent (41-for-81) from the field.
Atlanta has lost 20 of its last 23 home games dating back to last season.
The Knicks lost their fourth straight game Wednesday, a 105-90 loss to the Orlando Magic. Eddy Curry scored 23 points for New York, which has lost six of its last seven games and had its reserves outscored 48-18.
But defense has been a bigger problem for the Knicks, who have alllowed opponents to average 96.5 points and shoot 45.8 percent from the field during their losing streak. Fans were booing Wednesday, and coach Larry Brown understands their frustration.
“I don’t tune them out at all,” Brown said. “I hear it all. I’m embarrassed. I know how much they love basketball and love this team and want us to do well. And when we play poorly, I hear it, and it kills me because I’m responsible.”
Curry has been one of the few bright spots for the Knicks, averaging 18.3 points and shooting 61.9 percent (26-for-42) from the field.
The Knicks have lost seven of their last eight home games.
STANDINGS (through Dec. 15): Knicks - 4th place, 5 GB, Atlantic Division. Hawks - 5th place, 8 GB, Southeast Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Knicks - Marbury, 17.7 ppg and 6.4 apg; Frye, 6.2 rpg. Hawks - Johnson, 18.3 ppg and 5.2 apg; Pachulia, 9.4 rpg.
2004-05 SEASON SERIES: Knicks, 3-1.
LAST MEETING: April 17: Hawks, 139-135 (OT). At New York, Lue scored eight of his career-high 32 points in overtime for the Hawks, who scored 21 points in the five-minute extra period. Childress added 22 points and 11 rebounds for Atlanta, while Marbury and Jamal Crawford scored 31 each for the Knicks.