Hawks vs. Knicks: Rebounding Atlanta can extend win streak against New York

Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE

The Atlanta Hawks have won three in a row despite dealing with a number of injuries, and they can go for another victory Sunday night in Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks.

The Atlanta Hawks have been through a lot over the past few weeks. Once the surprise darlings of the Eastern Conference, a tough stretch saw Larry Drew's team go 3-9 all while suffering a long list of injuries.

Back on track to a degree, a win for the Hawks in Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks on Sunday would be a major part of the healing process.

The Hawks (25-18) have won three in a row albeit against lackluster competition in Minnesota, Charlotte and a sub-.500 Boston Celtics team. Still, it's put Atlanta in sixth place and just two games back of the Knicks (26-15) in the Eastern Conference standings.

Atlanta used a relatively healthy crew for an exciting comeback victory against the Celtics on Friday, and that is a good sign for matching up with New York, which has struggled in its past three games. The Knicks are averaging 84.6 points over that span, when they went 1-2 against Atlantic Division foes Brooklyn, Boston and Philadelphia.

Part of the low scoring has been poor ball movement, as the Knicks have averaged just 14.3 assists per game in the last three. Gunners Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith weren't on target in the Knicks' last game, a 97-80 loss to Philadelphia, and the team hasn't shot 41 percent or better since a Jan. 17 victory against the Detroit Pistons.

The good news for the Knicks

One bright spot of late for New York has been the play of Amar'e Stoudemire. Still coming off the bench, the power forward recorded his first 20-point game of the season on Saturday against the 76ers and went 8-of-13 from the field. He's scored in double figures for five games in a row now, all while shooting 50 percent or better.

The good news for the Hawks

Atlanta should be able to match up with New York how it sees fit. Against the Celtics, Drew went with Kyle Korver in the starting lineup alongside Jeff Teague in the backcourt. It was a big lineup that saw Korver drop 27 points in hitting eight three-pointers to go along with six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Korver has been hot of late, averaging 20.3 points over the last four games.

Time: 6:30 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

Odds: The Knicks opened as six-point favorites.

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