Knicks come alive in fourth, beat Hawks

David Purdum, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ATLANTA -- New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson called the third quarter a disaster. And it was. The fourth quarter was much more like it for a team trying to get past a shaky start to the season.
Forward Carmelo Anthony and center Andrea Bargnani hit big shots down the stretch, and the Knicks' defense forced some key turnovers in the fourth quarter of a 95-91 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday at Philips Arena.
Anthony scored six of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer from the wing that tied the game 78-78 with seven minutes to play. The Knicks led by five with 5:49 to play after a 3-pointer from Bargnani. The 7-foot center banked in a straight-on 3-pointer later in the quarter to help the Knicks pull away.
"This was a great way to kind of get back on track," said Anthony. "Any time you can win on the road, it's always a big win. We came through with a much better effort than we had against San Antonio. I'm glad to see how we responded about putting that game behind us."
New York (3-4) hounded the Hawks into 15 turnovers and committed only six of their own to survive a third-quarter meltdown.
"When you look at the turnovers, 15-6, and the points off turnovers, I think that explains the loss tonight," first-year Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
Center Al Horford had 23 points for the Hawks (4-4) and jump-started a second-half comeback, but he disappeared in the fourth quarter. Horford leads the Hawks in points, rebounds, steals and blocks, and he had his way early on with a New York front line that was missing center Tyson Chandler (broken leg). However, Horford scored only three points in the fourth quarter.
For the second consecutive game, Budenholzer had his team primed coming out halftime. Horford ignited a third-quarter rally with six quick points, and point guard Jeff Teague scored eight straight points to give the Hawks their first lead since 2-0. The Hawks outscored the Knicks 23-10 in the third quarter to take a 68-65 lead into the final period.
"That third quarter was a disaster," Woodson said. "But I thought we held our poise down the stretch."
Atlanta guard Kyle Korver hit two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, extending his streak of games with at least one 3-pointer to 81. It's the second-longest such streak in NBA history, behind only Dana Barros' 89-game run. However, Korver also had a crucial turnover on an inbounds pass late in the fourth quarter that turned into layup by New York point guard Raymond Felton.
"We're still a new group and we're still trying to figure one another out," Teague said of the fourth-quarter struggles.
Bargnani played big in Chandler's absence, scoring 20 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Felton finished with 10 points and five assists. Guard J.R. Smith, making his first start of the season, added 12 points for the Knicks.
Anthony attempted just 10 field goals Sunday in a home loss to the San Antonio Spurs. He took 11 shots in the first half against the Hawks and hit two of the Knicks' eight 3-pointers in the first half. New York led 55-45 at intermission.
Anthony finished 9-for-25 from the floor.
The Hawks outscored the Knicks 56-28 in the paint, but failed to score 100 points for the first time this season and suffered their first home loss.
NOTES: Knicks coach Mike Woodson used his third starting lineup of the season, with G J.R. Smith inserted as a starter in place of G Pablo Prigioni. Smith missed the first five games of the season while serving a suspension for violating the league's drug policy. ... Injured Hawks G Lou Williams has been medically cleared and could return soon. Williams tore his right ACL in January. ... With their early struggles, the Knicks are at the forefront of trade rumors, most centered on G Iman Shumpert. They reportedly are in talks with the Denver Nuggets about F Kenneth Faried. ... The Hawks assigned G Jared Cunningham to the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Developmental league Monday. ... Woodson coached the Hawks from 2004 to 2010, posting a 206-286 record with three playoff appearances.

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