Who?: New York Knicks (7th in East) vs Atlanta Hawks (5th in the East)
What?: NBA Eastern Conference showdown (Game #64 , Home game #31 )
Where?: Philips Arena (Atlanta, Georgia)
When?: Sunday April 22, 2012 – 1:00 PM (Eastern Time)
How?: New York - ESPN (TV), // Atlanta - SportSouth HD (TV), ESPN (TV) & 98.9 FM
Projected Starting Lineups:
New York Knicks:
PG: Mike Bibby | SG: Iman Schumpert | SF: Carmelo Anthony | PF: Amar’e Stoudemire | C: Tyson Chandler
PG: Jeff Teague | SG: Kirk Hinrich | SF: Joe Johnson | PF: Josh Smith | C: Jason Collins
Injury/Inactive Players Report:
New York: Jared Jeffries (sore right knee) is doubtful … Jeremy Lin (meniscal tear – left knee) is out.
Atlanta: Zaza Pachulia (sprained left foot) is day-to-day … Al Horford (left pectoral surgery) is out.
Current Records/Streak & Hot, Lukewarm, or Cold:
Records: New York Knicks (33-30) — Atlanta Hawks (38-25)
Streak: NEW YORK –> OVERALL: Lost 1 / HOME: Won 2 / ROAD: Lost 1 …. ATLANTA –> OVERALL: Won 3 / HOME: Won 2 / ROAD: Won 2
Away/Home: The Knicks are (12-19 ) away. The Atlanta Hawks are (21-9) at home.
Against .500 teams: NY is (13-20) against teams over .500 & ATL is (12-20) against teams over .500
New York Knicks: Lukewarm. New York has won three-of-five games heading into Sunday’s meeting with Atlanta but lost their most recent match-up to the woeful Cleveland Cavaliers 98-90 on Friday after Amar’e Stoudemire played in his first game after returning from injury.
Atlanta Hawks: Lukewarm. The Hawks have won three straight including two blowout victories over Toronto on Monday and Detroit on Wednesday but just narrowly got passed the depleted Boston Celtics, who were without their “Big 4″ of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo, on Friday by a 97-92 margin.
Season/Past Season Series:
New York comes to Philips Arena for the second time this year in the third-and-final meeting overall with the Hawks. The teams have split the first two games in the series with each team winning at home.
The Knicks struck first with a 99-72 win on Feb. 22 behind 17 points apiece from Steve Novak and Jeremy Lin while Jeff Teague dropped 18 for Atlanta.
The Hawks leveled the series with a 100-90 victory on March 30 thanks to three 20-point scorers – Joe Johnson (28), Josh Smith (23) and Willie Green (20). Carmelo Anthony poured in 36 points for NY in the losing effort.
Atlanta leads the all-time series 184-164.
Interim Knick head coach Mike Woodson returns to Atlanta for the second time this season, hoping to avenge the 100-90 loss back on March 30 to his former team in the Philips Arena.
Woodson coached the Hawks from 2004-2010 in his only stint as a NBA head coach before joining New York’s staff and taking over as Knicks skipper after Mike D’Antoni resigned from the position in March.
Both teams have clinched playoffs spots, NY will likely finish as the 7th seed, the Hawks currently sit in the 5th spot but have a chance to move up to the #3 seed and gain home-field advantage if they win their last three remaining games. The Indiana Pacers are presently slotted at the third spot in the Eastern Conference and must lose their last three remaining games in order for Atlanta to jump up to the #3 seed.
The Hawks received good news recently as all-star center Al Horford has been cleared by doctors to start working out after being injured for majority of the season. Atlanta is hopeful Horford will be in the line-up by the second round of the playoffs.
New York’s big man Amar’e Stoudemire played last night against Cleveland after missing the previous 13 games with a back injury and is projected to start tomorrow against the Hawks. Stoudemire played a total of 27 minutes against the Cavaliers and scored 15 points while grabbing three rebounds in his first game back.
“As the game went on, I felt more and more comfortable,” Stoudemire said in his post-game comments. “I felt my rhythm coming back a lot faster. It’s that muscle memory. Once you get going again, it just comes back to you. I felt great.”
Carmelo Anthony was limited to 12 points on Friday after averaging 30.5 points in his previous three games. He poured in 36 points last meeting against Atlanta but the Knicks lost 100-90 to end their three-game winning streak in the series. Joe Johnson scored 28 points in that match-up after missing the first meeting, a 99-82 road loss on Feb. 22, due to injury.