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Final Score: Hawks 103, Knicks 96

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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Well, butts. That was a waste of some great basketball. The Knicks never played particularly good defense, but some early small lineups and a snappy Carmelo Anthony generated some beeeeeautiful offensive basketball early on. The Knicks ran both sides of the Triangle offense with speed and grace, zipping the ball around for easy buckets.

And thennnnn, the Knicks. The Hawks started to hit some shots and New York just crumpled. Bigger lineups didn't seem to help. Jason Smith and friends just handing their passes to the Hawks didn't help either. Neither did losing track of Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll behind the arc repeatedly. Neither did abandoning Triangle sets in crunch time to just go one-on-one and heave nonsense. Neither did fouling constantly.

It's tough. Derek Fisher's chess set is missing some crucial pieces, so he's short on options. And this team is just bound to run into trouble defending over time. Decent opponents won't stay cold for 48 minutes. It's a shame to see some really excellent stretches buried by the final score, but as I keep reminding myself, there's more to this season of building than just wins and losses. Gotta take those flashes of Triangle excellence, and that stretch of Melo shooting splendidly in space, and the periods of smart passing from point-guard-less groups, and those fine offensive moments from Iman Shumpert and Amar'e Stoudemire and appreciate them on their own. Still no fun to lose.

MMiranda's got your recap later tonight. Hawks again at MSG on Monday.