Six Knicks scored in double figures in an all-around offensive dominant performance against the Hawks on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

The New York Knicks (7-21) defeated the Atlanta Hawks (6-22) at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night to a score of 143-120. The Knicks torched the Hawks’ abysmal defense all night, leading to one of their best performances of the season.

The Knicks started offensively with quick ball movement and earned tons of trips to the free throw line. New York scored 77 points in the first half, 41 of those in the first quarter, amounting to the highest the Knicks have scored in a single quarter all season.

The Hawks had no answer for the mismatches Marcus Morris and Julius Randle were finding on Atlanta’s young players all night. Morris finished with 22 points on 11 shots, and Randle had 17 points on 15 attempts. Atlanta couldn’t handle the physicality in their shot creation both inside and outside.

New York has shown more of a commitment on the defensive side of the ball under interim head coach Mike Miller. While going over screens, the Knicks forced Atlanta into uncomfortable floaters and were better adjusted to challenging outside shots. An important factor in the Knicks’ ability to play consistent defense is keeping the fouling to a minimum, especially for Mitchell Robinson.

The Knicks successfully did that on Tuesday, keeping the Hawks to just 20 free throw attempts total, almost half of which came in garbage time. The second-year center Robinson had an all-around incredible game, with 22 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks, and a steal—which lead to a monster dunk.

Dennis Smith Jr. had a very encouraging performance Tuesday night. After falling out of the rotation with Elfrid Payton’s return, he showed what he can contribute offensively, shredding the Hawks’ defense with sly passes and hitting outside shots. Hopefully this is a performance he can build off of; a rocky start to season has left his status as a long-term piece in New York a question. Smith finished with eight points and five assists in just 13 minutes.

Trae Young is going to be beating the Knicks down for a very long time. His ability to work around a screen and find an easy floater, or an open shooter, is special. He had the only positive performance tonight for the Hawks, which were otherwise a disaster. Young has every right to be upset with how the Hawks as a team have performed this year, failing massively to meet expectations. Young finished with a ridiculous 42 points and eight assists on 29 shots.

Notes

  • Both Mitchell Robinson and R.J. Barrett scored new career highs on Tuesday, with the rookie out of Duke pouring in 27 points against his ex-teammate Cam Reddish.
  • The Knicks had their best single-game scoring outing in regulation in 39 years. It was an all-around effort from the team, as noted by six separate players in double figures.

The Knicks pack up their bags after the quick, one-game homestand at the Garden for a trip to South Beach, as they face Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat on Friday.

 

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