The Knicks look to win their third game in a row in their post-Thanksgiving match-up with the Hawks.
Following a rough patch of games, the Knicks are starting to get their rhythm back. After picking up two convincing wins against the Clippers and Raptors, New York will look to to pick up their 11th win of the season tonight against Atlanta. The Hawks, who have successfully tanked their way into the worst record in the NBA, are 3-15 on the season.
Let’s take a look at the storylines surrounding tonight’s game in Georgia.
Kristaps’ Shooting Struggles
After a hot start to the season, KP has fallen into a bit of a cold streak as of late. In the last three games, Kristaps averaged 20 points on 33 percent shooting. He hasn’t looked like himself on offense, seemingly reluctant to take the ball to the hoop, and not getting the high-post jumpers he’s thrived on top fall for him as frequently as usual. Hopefully this mini-slump has nothing to do with his nagging elbow injury, and is just Porzingis cooling off a bit after shooting the lights out to start the season.
KP has a good chance to get back in his groove tonight against the slumping Hawks, who really don’t have anyone they can put on him that can slow him down. He should be able to get a lot of easy buckets on the 29th ranked defense in the league.
Hardaway Jr. Looks to Continue His Hot Streak Against His Former Team
After sparking a 40 point third quarter and leading New York to a resounding win against the Raptors last game, all eyes will be on Tim Hardaway Jr. to follow up his career-high 38-point performance. As we’ve seen throughout the season, Timmy excels when the offense isn’t run through Porzingis, and he has the ball in his hands more than usual. If we see another slow night for KP against Atlanta, chances are Hardaway Jr. will have himself another high-scoring game.
Timmy will match up against Kent Bazemore, a worthy defender that could cause New York trouble with his defense.
In a game that may very well end up as a blowout, I’m looking for another Timmy explosion game, especially after the show he put on Wednesday night. We need more shimmies.
Joakim Noah, who has still yet to play in his first game this season after being cleared from suspension, will be out again tonight with an illness. He didn’t travel with the team for this two-game road trip, and will also be out for tomorrow night’s game in Houston.
Jeff Hornacek said Joakim Noah didn't make the two-game trip because he's ill, and he didn't want to risk him getting the other players sick.
— Al Iannazzone (@Al_Iannazzone) November 24, 2017
Joakim’s absence won’t make much of a difference for the Knicks, who have overachieved without him. Noah’s suspension was actually beneficial for the team, as it freed up minutes for the rest of the centers on a roster filled with bigs. Except for Willy. #FreeWilly.
It’ll be interesting to see what Noah can do when he’s healthy enough to play, and whether or not he can still provide after an underwhelming season last year.
Hopefully the Knickerbockers will able to put away the Hawks without too much trouble, as a win for New York tonight would tie them with the Cavaliers for the fourth seed in the East.
Tip-off for tonight’s game is set for 7:30 p.m. EST. MSG/League Pass will have TV coverage.
UPDATE: 6:04 p.m. EST.
Enes Kanter will not play due to back spasms, per NorthJersey.com’s Steve Popper.