New York really needed something to smile about heading into their week off. With key players hurting, trade rumors swirling, and the smell of some bad losses still lingering, any morsel of goodness before the All-Star break would be a crucial boost for the Knicks and their fans. They got more than they could ever have asked for with a solid double-digit victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
The Knicks produced balanced, efficient offense on one end and played inspired defense on the other. Amar'e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, and Landry Fields each shone at times for the first unit, while Wilson Chandler's 20 points paced the bench squad. Against a team that had previously out-muscled the smaller Knicks on the glass, New York won the rebounding battle 44-38 and granted the Hawks just nine free throws.
The win was ever so slightly bittersweet, as the team-wide excellence arrived just before a week-long break for the All-Star festivities and, perhaps, a trade of some sort.
That's for another day, though. For the time being, New York can enjoy ending the season's first act on much-needed a positive note.
See Posting and Toasting for more Knicks coverage.