NEW YORK, NY (AP) — Atlanta Hawks coach Larry Drew had high praise for his team after a remarkable win its last time out.
He surely hasn’t been pleased with the Hawks’ recent efforts against the Atlantic Division-leading New York Knicks.
Seeking a fourth consecutive victory, visiting Atlanta tries to avoid a fifth loss in six games to New York as these clubs square off Sunday for the first time this season.
The Hawks (25-18) found themselves on the verge of defeat Friday before storming back from 27 down in a 123-111 double-overtime win over Boston. Kyle Korver came up clutch down the stretch, making five of his career-high eight 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
Korver finished with a season-best 27 points while Al Horford scored 24 to go along with 13 rebounds. Josh Smith added 17 points, 14 boards and seven assists and Jeff Teague scored 23.
“This is probably, I’m trying to think as a coach and as a player, one of the most amazing comebacks I’ve been associated with,” said Drew, whose team improved to 13-3 when Korver scores at least 13. “Overall, this was a very, very gutsy win for us, it really shows what we’re made of. It shows that we have the ability to persevere through those type of situations.”
Drew, who spent six seasons as an assistant to former Hawks and current Knicks coach Mike Woodson before replacing him in 2010-11, led Atlanta to a 100-90 win in his first game against Woodson on March 30. The Hawks, though, came up short 113-112 on April 22, dropping to 4-9 in the series since 2009.
New York (26-15) entered Saturday having won three of four but couldn’t keep up in a 97-80 loss at Philadelphia. Carmelo Anthony had 25 points on 9-of-28 shooting and Amare Stoudemire scored a season-high 20 off the bench, but no one else reached double figures.
“We just didn’t have it,” Anthony said. “They played extremely well. We didn’t make shots. We didn’t defend. We didn’t move the ball.”
Raymond Felton, in his first game back after missing 12 due to a broken right finger, scored eight for the Knicks, who went a season-worst 4 for 27 (14.8 percent) from long distance. New York has gone 20-5 when making at least 11 3-pointers and 6-10 when it doesn’t.
Despite his inefficient effort Saturday, Anthony extended his streak of consecutive 20-point efforts to 28 – tied with Patrick Ewing for the second-longest in team history and one behind Richie Guerin’s record set in 1961-62.
Anthony, averaging 29.0 points to rank second in the league, has scored at least 20 in all but one game thus far. He’s averaging 37.5 in his last two matchups against Atlanta.
While Smith and Horford continue to lead the way for the Hawks, Korver figures to keep getting his looks, too. Acquired from Chicago in exchange for cash this offseason, Korver is averaging 20.3 points over his last four games, a stretch during which he’s gone 21 for 32 (65.6 percent) from beyond the arc.
Atlanta, which had been outscored by an average of 12.7 points during a season-worst six-game road losing streak before beating Charlotte on Wednesday, has gone 5-18 at Madison Square Garden since 2000.
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