Knicks vs. Hawks preview: Can Atlanta upend streaking New York?


The Knicks haven't won this many games in a row since 1994. Can a Hawks team battling for seeding end the streak?

The Atlanta Hawks have been playing some solid basketball in recent weeks, winning games and solidifying their position in the Eastern Conference standings. And yet, compared to the New York Knicks, the team's recent accomplishments pale in comparison.

Riding the hot hand of star scorer Carmelo Anthony, New York looks to expand its longest winning streak since 1994 when the two teams tip off Wednesday night in Atlanta.

In a season that's featured some of the most impressive win streaks in recent memory, the Knicks' current nine-game run doesn't seem particularly special, but it's the most consecutive wins for the franchise since Patrick Ewing and company rolled off 15 straight nearly 20 years ago.

Anthony hasn't led the franchise to that kind of success yet, but his play in recent weeks shows he's fully recovered from past knee injuries. Capped with an incredible 50-point performance against Miami on Tuesday, shown here by Posting and Toasting, SB Nation's Knicks blog, Melo is averaging over 30 points per game during the win streak.

With the conference's non-Miami contenders bunched together pretty closely, these wins have been huge for the team's seeding. Holding a 47-26 record, New York is now tied for second in the East with the Pacers, and six games head of Atlanta for the No. 5 seed.

Home-court advantage is always at a premium in the postseason, and New York's current win streak has all but assured the team will get that extra home game in Round 1 if necessary.

For Atlanta, a team that's comfortably in the middle of the pack, the remainder of the season is all about moving up to that No. 4 seed. The Hawks are just one game behind the Brooklyn Nets for homecourt advantage in a first-round postseason matchup that would likely feature the two teams.

With the Chicago Bulls still looming behind Atlanta in the standings, there's also the possibility that the team drops from the fifth seed. Playing well in these final games could be the difference starting the playoffs at home against Brooklyn or on the road at Indiana.

The Hawks may not go all out for that fourth seed, though, as noted by Peachtree Hoops, SB Nation's Hawks blog. Coach Larry Drew said Monday that he could rest some key players down the stretch even as the team battles for seeding.

Wednesday's game will be broadcast on ESPN, beginning at 7 p.m. ET.

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