Hawks send Knicks to 5th straight home loss

After a loss Wednesday, the Atlanta Hawks had the New York
Knicks right where they needed them for the rematch: in Madison
Square Garden.

The Hawks sent the Knicks to a fifth straight home loss and in
search of answers with a 110-90 victory Saturday. New York coach
Mike Woodson said he might look at lineup changes, but his team’s
problems go well beyond who starts.

”We’re not getting it done from an effort standpoint. It’s like
we’re not even trying right now,” Carmelo Anthony said.

Jeff Teague scored 16 points to lead eight Hawks in double
figures. Paul Millsap, back in the starting lineup, had 14 points
and 13 rebounds as Atlanta shot 56 percent and won for the fourth
time in five games.

”Obviously a good effort on our entire group’s part,” coach
Mike Budenholzer said. ”I think it was great to see the bench give
us what they gave us tonight. I think defensively that was the
closest to a complete game we’ve had.”

The Hawks avenged their most recent loss, a 95-91 Knicks victory
in Atlanta. This was at MSG, where New York hasn’t won since
beating Milwaukee on Oct. 30 in its season opener, and where the
fans are getting restless.

There were noticeable groans and boos in the arena, along with a
few ”Fire Woodson!” chants as the Knicks fell to 3-6.

”Games are starting to slip away, and especially at home,”
Woodson said. ”I mean, if this was happening on the road, I
wouldn’t be that concerned, but I’m very concerned about how we’re
playing here at home. We’re not playing well and that shouldn’t
be.”

Anthony had 23 points and 12 rebounds for New York. Andrea
Bargnani added 16 points and nine boards.

J.R. Smith shot 3 for 18 to fall to 8 for 43 at MSG this season
after he was suspended the first five games for violating the NBA’s
anti-drug policy. He was yanked with a little under 4 minutes left
after missing all six attempts in the second half.

”I’m playing (bad),” Smith said. ”I played terrible. I’ve
been terrible since I got back. I’m unhappy about it.”

So is Woodson, who will have to decide if last season’s Sixth
Man of the Year should return to a reserve role.

”I’m not just blaming it on J.R,” Woodson said. ”Offensively,
you’re going to miss shots. There’s nights where you just can’t
throw it in the ocean. But that has no excuse why you don’t give
effort defensively.”

The Knicks fell to 0-4 in their orange uniforms, which made for
an ugly match on the court with the Hawks wearing red. And they had
a four-game winning streak against Atlanta snapped.

Up 11 after three quarters, the Hawks let the Knicks get within
five, then put it away with a 12-2 burst that included a four-point
play by Kyle Korver, who extended his streak with a 3-pointer to 83
games, pulling within six of Dana Barros’ NBA record.

Korver scored 15 for the Hawks, who followed a 113-103 home
victory over Philadelphia on Friday with another powerful
performance.

Already without Tyson Chandler because of a broken leg, the
Knicks were also missing Metta World Peace on Saturday because of a
sore left knee.

They are still holding down Amare Stoudemire’s minutes as he
works his way back from a third knee surgery in the last year, and
said the limited time on the court isn’t working for him or his
teammates. He talked with Woodson earlier Saturday and said he
hoped his minutes could double, though the only thing Woodson
committed to while talking to reporters was getting Stoudemire more
repetitions in practice.

The Knicks led 26-24 after one before Mike Scott, Gustavo Ayon
and Shelvin Mack led a bench unit on a 17-3 burst to open the
second that gave Atlanta a 41-29 advantage. The Hawks led 54-47 at
halftime.

Mack had 12 points and 12 assists.

”Man, those guys stepped up real big for us tonight,” Millsap
said. ”They did a great job coming off and sparking that energy
for us. They came in, executed well, played great defense. Goose
(Ayon) was on the glass. Going forward, that’s what we’re going to
need. We’re going to need a bench to compete in this league.”

NOTES: Woodson said he wouldn’t tell Smith to stop using
Twitter, and Smith said he didn’t plan to. Smith was fined $25,000
by the NBA on Friday for his inappropriate tweet directed at
Detroit’s Brandon Jennings, the second time he’s been fined that
total for a post on the social media site. Woodson had said
Thursday he may consider a policy banning Twitter. … Stoudemire
had five points in 14 minutes on his 31st birthday.

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