Kristaps Porzingis scored 30 points, Doug McDermott added 23 off the bench and the New York Knicks withstood a late push from the Atlanta Hawks for a 111-107 victory Sunday night.
One night after losing to the NBA-worst Chicago Bulls on the road, New York managed to hold off a fourth-quarter rally by the Hawks, who have the second-worst record in the league.
The Knicks appeared to have the game put away after three straight points from Jarrett Jack and Porzingis gave them a 101-92 lead with 3:46 left.
Not in 🦄's 🏠 pic.twitter.com/DpCvhgLToT- NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) December 11, 2017
The Hawks then scored five consecutive points, including three free throws from Marco Belinelli to make it 103-100 with 1:40 remaining. Porzingis answered with a quick basket at the other end to extend the Knicks' lead 105-100 before Ersan Ilyasova's layup drew Atlanta within three with 1:18 to play.
New York made it interesting once again when Jack was able to hit only one of two from the free throw line, making it 109-106 with seven seconds left. Kent Bazemore was fouled with three seconds to go. After making the first free throw, he purposely missed the second one, but Porzingis sealed it with two free throws of his own.
Jack scored 19 points for a Knicks team that had lost six of eight, including a 116-104 defeat at Atlanta on Nov. 30. >> Read more
Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press
Jake Brown | Twitter |
The Knicks needed to win this game badly, and they pulled away in the fourth quarter to do so. In typical Knicks fashion, it was more dramatic toward the end as they almost found a way to blow it and lose back-to-back games to last-place teams. They need to take care of business against sub-.500 teams, and they finally got back to .500 on Sunday.
With Enes Kanter limited to 18 minutes due to foul trouble and injuries, the Knicks received some big contributions off the bench. McDermott took over with 23 points. He didn't miss much, either, finishing 9-of-13 from the field in 30 minutes. Jack also had an impressive night, dropping 16 points, after he blamed himself for Saturday's loss to the Bulls. Porzingis took the blame Saturday night, and rebounded terrificly, dropping 30. Even Ron Baker played a role with nine points and four assists, playing most of the fourth quarter alongside Frank Ntilikina in the backcourt.
With Tim Hardaway Jr. out, the Knicks are going to need continued big-time efforts from their bench. It can't be on Porzingis' shoulders every night, and McDermott and Jack took care of being Batman's sidekicks. The Knicks tend to fall behind early and force themselves to fight back, so they need to learn to come out of the gates stronger. If they can play a strong four quarters, beginning Tuesday against Lonzo Ball and the Lakers, they won't have to enter panic mode down the stretch of these games.
The Knicks face the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Madison Square Garden.