UPDATED – DeShawn Stevenson will start today on his 32nd birthday for the injured Devin Harris.
The Knicks are riding their longest winning-streak since the 1993-94 season and look to keep it going Wednesday against the Hawks in Atlanta.
They made it nine straight wins on Tuesday by knocking off the Miami Heat 102-90, albeit without LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers in the lineup, as Carmelo Anthony capitalized on the offensive advantage with a 50-point performance, tying his career-high.
Melo started the game on fire, hitting his first seven shots, and put on a shooting clinic throughout the night as he finished 18-of-26 overall, including sinking 7-of-10 from behind the arc.
In three games against Atlanta with former Hawks coach Mike Woodson at the helm, Anthony is averaging 39.0 points. He tied a franchise record with nine 3-pointers and finished with 42 points in a 106-104 victory on Jan. 27 in the only matchup versus ATL this season.
In that game, Amar’e Stoudemire and J.R. Smith each scored 18 points off the bench, while Raymond Felton added 12 points and 10 assists.
Melo drove past Josh Smith in the final seconds for the game-winning layup.
Atlanta had five players in double-figures and were led by Jeff Teague, who abused NY’s backcourt as he finished with 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting with six assists, five rebounds and two steals. Smith had 20 points and Al Horford had 16 on 8-of-8 shooting. DeShawn Stevenson (15) and Kyle Korver (13) were also in double-figures.
Since then, both teams have lost key guys to injury and have also each signed a 10-day contract player for the remainder of the season.
It was announced in the first week of March that Stoudemire will be out approximately six weeks, as he “would need to undergo a knee debridement surgery, a procedure to remove dead or damaged tissue or bone in order to heal the injured area”, according to SI.com.
In Stats’ absence, the Knicks signed veteran power forward Kenyon Martin.
The Hawks, meanwhile, lost backup big man Zaza Pachulia, as he decided to have season-ending surgery to repair a lingering right Achilles injury that hindered him for a significant portion of the year. Pachulia’s surgery is today.
They have also been without combo guard Lou Williams for majority of the season and had to sign former Butler University product Shelvin Mack to add backcourt depth.
The Knicks caught a break Tuesday since the Heat played without their two best players, and might face the same situation Wednesday.
Despite the Hawks sitting in fifth place, one game behind Brooklyn in the race for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, they’re more worried about the health of their banged up players and will possibly rest a few tonight.
Horford just returned from missing two games due to a stomach illness. Devin Harris is recovering from a left ankle injury. DeShawn Stevenson can’t play back-to-backs because of sore knees (you Knick fans should know a thing or two about that dealing with Stat). And John Jenkins is still trying to pass the NBA’s protocol system after sustaining a concussion five days ago in Boston.