The Knicks lost their third straight game on Friday night as they fell to the Atlanta Hawks 139-124 after letting the game slip away in the fourth quarter.
New York had the lead at halftime and after keeping the game within their grasp going into the fourth quarter. However, the Hawks outscored them 37-23 in the final 12 minutes and walked away with the win. Atlanta at one point went on a 16-1 run in the fourth and never looked back as they took the victory and the lead in the season series against the Knicks before the two meet for the last time in the regular season on February 15.
Julius Randle led the Knicks with 32 points and nine rebounds. It was the first game since December 27 that he didn’t record 10 or more rebounds in a game. RJ Barrett had 23 points and Jalen Brunson added in 19 points and nine rebounds. Immanuel Quickley and Miles McBride combined for 19 points off the bench in the defeat.
One quarter syndrome came back to haunt the Knicks again as they met a grim fate in the fourth quarter. The Hawks pulled it off behind 29 points and 12 assists from Dejounte Murray who once again was a “Knick killer” especially in the latter stages. Trae Young had 27 points and six assists in the win. Atlanta also got big performances from De’Andre Hunter and John Collins who combined to score 37 points. The Hawks had six players in double figures and dominated the Knicks when it mattered most to finish the job on Friday night.
This a tough start to what could be a season defining stretch for the Knicks over the next few weeks. Last season, New York went 2-14 from January 24 to March 4. It was a run that crippled their season and impacted their decisions during the trade deadline and the summer that followed. These next 10 games or so are of vital importance for New York and now with Mitchell Robinson out for a few weeks it will not be easy to tread water.
Next up, the Knicks head back to Toronto to try and get a season series split with the Raptors before hosting Cleveland and then making trips to Boston and Brooklyn. It is very possible that we could look back on this stretch of play as the one that defines the Knicks season once again. We will see if they can make amends for last season and stay on course for the playoffs.
We will have you covered through all of it as always. Our coverage continues on Sunday at 6 p.m. when the Knicks and Raptors tip it up in Toronto.