Carmelo Anthony scored 30 points on 10-16 shooting, but it was not enough as the Knicks lost to the Atlanta Hawks 108-107 in a Martin Luther King Day matinee at Madison Square Garden Monday.
Derrick Rose added 18 points and nine assists, but missed a lay-up that would have given the Knicks the lead in the final seconds of the game. Anthony secured the rebound and had an opportunity to win the game for New York, but missed an open-look before the final buzzer.
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- If this loss can be judged on its own (without taking the team's recent struggles into consideration), the Knicks have to be content in the way they competed against a very formidable Hawks squad. Dwight Howard didn't appear for Atlanta, but this opponent still plays very physical basketball. Grabbing twenty more rebounds, the Knicks were certainly ready for this challenge. Dennis Schroder hit one heck of a clutch shot to seal a victory. There's no shame in that.
- Plugging both Ron Baker and Mindaugas Kuzminskas proved to be a successful strategy for Jeff Hornacek. These two helped inject the starting five with energy and hustle from the get go. It's hard not to appreciate what each one brought to the table. Kuzminskas' aggression in attacking the basket fits this team well. Baker played pesky defense. While he was a bit overzealous from beyond the arc, he too hit big time shots.
- What this means for the Knicks going forward remains to be seen. Kristaps Porzingis is set to return, which could push the energy bunny Kuzminskas back to the bench for an offensive spark. It's clear the hunger he and Baker played with nevertheless lit the fire under those around them and the players whose minutes they seemingly took over. Changes were needed and despite the loss, they worked.