Thanks in large part to free throws, the Atlanta Hawks topped the New York Knicks 91-85 on Monday for their second straight win, while handling the Knicks their fifth straight loss. This was part of a home-and-away series, in which the Hawks also bested the Knicks 103-96 on Saturday to record their first away win of the season after losing their previous two away games by a combined five points.
As mentioned prior, free throws and fouls were the deciding factor in this game. Why? Because New York had the edge in several other very meaningful statistics including field goals made, field goal percentage, rebounds and assists. However, New York committed 10 more fouls than the Hawks and Atlanta made them pay for it. New York went just 7-of-12 (58.3 percent) from the charity stripe. The Hawks went a mind-boggling 27-of-28 (96.4 percent) converting their free throw attempts.
If you’re wondering, Jeff Teague was the lone Hawk to miss a free throw attempt. Which is interesting because Teague didn’t make a single field goal during the entire game. He finished 0-of-4 from the field including 0-of-3 from beyond the arc in 25 minutes of play.
Fortunately for the Hawks, backup point guard Dennis Schroeder did just fine to make up for Teague’s lack of production. Schroeder finished with 14 points, making 4-of-8 field goals and all six free throw attempts in 28 minutes of play.
"When I get on the court, I try to help my teammates and try to play defense first and try to create open shots for my teammates," Schroder said. "Nobody helped on the pick-and-roll, so I tried to go to the basket and score."
Four different Hawks, including three starters, scored in double figures against New York. Paul Millsap led the team with 19 points, four rebounds, two assists and three steals. Kyle Korver scored 17 points to add to his eight rebounds, and Al Horford added 12 points. DeMarre Carroll finished with nine points, while also pulling in 10 rebounds.
For New York, Carmelo Anthony led the team in both points (25) and assists (7), even having nine rebounds (second most for NY), but it was for naught. New York came into the game averaging an NBA worst 92 points per game and couldn’t match that number, which may have given them a win.
"Although you do look at the big picture, if you're dealing with the now, it can be kind of frustrating," Anthony said. "You're losing basketball games, things not going the way you want it to go or should go, but at the same time we've just got to stay with it. Just stay positive, just stay focused, as a team, as a unit, because the ship easily can sink early."
Atlanta (3-3) now travels back home to take on the Utah Jazz (3-5) for a Wednesday night game. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 pm ET.