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Shorthanded Knicks can't overcome poor shooting, fall to Hawks 116-100

The Knicks overcame a dreadful first quarter and erased a 22-point first-half deficit, but the shorthanded side had nothing left in the tank for a late run game as they missed 36 three-point attempts in Atlanta’s 116-100 win Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

Playing without Jalen Brunson, the Knicks struggled to find an offensive focal point as jump shot after jump shot found nothing but iron early on. New York fell to 36-26 on the season.

Knicks finished 38-for-99 (38.4 percent) from the floor and 16-for-52 (30.8 percent) from behind the arc while getting outrebounded 51-40 in the loss. The 52 three-point attempts were the second-highest total in a game in franchise history.

Here are the takeaways...

- Things did not start well for the banged-up Knicks as they missed their first seven attempts from the floor before a Precious Achiuwa dunk four minutes into the game ended the drought. Tom Thibodeau was forced to call for time with the Knicks down 16-8 after six minutes and his team just 3-for-12 from the floor and giving up some easy buckets.

Donte DiVincenzo had open looks but started the game 2-for-11 from the floor and 1-for-9 from three. Deuce McBride started 1-for-4 (all threes) and Bojan Bogdanovic was 0-for-3.

In all, the Knicks shot 6-for-28 (2-for-16 from three), were out-rebounded 17-9, and despite the Hawks’ five turnovers trailed 33-15 after one quarter.

The reason: Atlanta small forwards – Jalen Johnson the starter and De'Andre Hunter off the bench - got everything they wanted in the first half combining for 31 points on 14-for-21 shooting in 29 total minutes and were a plus-14 and plus-10, respectfully.

- Fortunes did not initially improve in the second and the Knicks found themselves down by 21 halfway through the period. But New York put together a solid 17-6 run, with six points coming from Achiuwa, to pull within 10. Thanks to shooting 14-for-25 (6-for-10 from three) in the second, the team managed to enter halftime down just 61-50.

- After a stretch of rough shooting by both teams in the second half, Atalanta once again built their lead to 14. But after Josh Hart's layup with 1:47 to play in the third to cap a 15-1 Knicks run, the visitor’s one-time 22-point lead was gone and the score was tied.

Hart, who didn’t score in the first half, had eight points in the third as New York went 10-for-20 from the floor and held the Hawks to 7-for-22, but entered the fourth down 83-78.

- The Knicks hung around in the fourth because Hart found his shooting touch from beyond the arc with a pair of threes cutting the lead to four with 6:27 to play. That was the closest they got in the quarter as the Hawks went on a 14-3 run over the next four minutes to put the game out of reach as the shorthanded Knicks just ran out of gas.

New York shot 8-for-27 in the fourth, missing 12 threes in the process and was outscored 33-22 in the game's final stanza.

Curiously, Achuiwa did not play the first 10 minutes of the fourth quarter despite having 15 points on 7-for-8 shooting with five rebounds in 22 minutes to that point. Thibs opted for the floor stretching ability of Bogdanovic down the stretch, but it made no difference.

- The lowlights for the Knicks' shooters: DiVincenzo finished with 21 points but on 7-for-24 shooting (5-for-17 from three) and a minus-13 in 39 minutes. Hart scored 14 points on 5-for-12 (3-for-7 from three) with eight rebounds and six assists and was a team-worst minus-26 in 43 minutes. McBride just 11 points on 4-for-15 (3-for-10 from three) with nine assists and a minus-7 in a team-high 46 minutes.

Off the bench, Bogdanovic had 19 points on 6-for-18 shooting (4-for-11 from three) and was a minus-10 and Alec Burks had 11 points in 12 minutes on 5-for-14 shooting (1-for-7 from three) and was a minus-12.

- The recently acquired Shake Milton did not feature for the Knicks.

- Dejounte Murray, who was on the Knicks’ radar for a bit before the trade deadline, struggled on the offensive end at times but closed out well to finish with 21 points on 7-for-17 shooting with nine rebounds and six assists.

Highlights

What's next

The Knicks play game two of their four-game homestand Friday at 7:30 p.m. against the Orlando Magic.