The injury-riddled Atlanta Hawks head into tonight’s home game against Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks after a crazy few days.
On Thursday, the NBA’s trade deadline, the Hawks released Cartier Martin to make room for Antwan Jamison, who they acquired from the Clippers in a trade. Then on Friday, after an expected buyout was to come, the team requested waivers on Jamison and simultaneously signed Martin back for the remainder of the season, and also recalled second-year shooting guard Jared Cunningham from the D-League. Now on Saturday, literally in the past two hours, Atlanta has requested waivers on Cunningham and signed fourth-year center Dexter Pitman to a 10-day contract.
On top of all that mess comes the news that starting point guard Jeff Teague will return tonight after missing a game due to a sprained left ankle, but starting power forward Paul Millsap will not play tonight because of a knee contusion. In his place will be usual small forward DeMarre Carroll.
Along with Millsap sitting out, the Hawks will be short their top three centers in All-Star Al Horford (season-ending pectoral surgery), as well as second and third stringers Gustavo Ayon (right shoulder injury) and Pero Antic (stress fracture in ankle). So that means they’ll have to rely on 15-year veteran Elton Brand — the fourth-string center.
So besides their best player being out in Millsap, Atlanta will have a 6’9″ center who’s been in the league 15 years matchup against a 7’1″ rebounding monster and former Defensive Player of the Year recipient in Tyson Chandler.
Because the of all the costly injuries, and the resulting matchup problems, Atlanta is currently on a eight-game skid after last night’s loss in Detroit, and is in danger of making it nine straight tonight against New York. The last time the Hawks lost nine games in a row was the 2005-06 campaign when they were 0-9 to start the season.
However, tonight’s Knicks team isn’t exactly coming in scorching hot themselves. They are coming off a double overtime loss to the below average Magic squad in a game where Melo dropped 44 points.
What?: Eastern Conference Showdown (Game #55, Home Game #27)
Where?: Philips Arena (Atlanta, GA)
When?: Saturday, February 22, 2014 – 7:30 PM (ET)
How?: SportSouth HD TV & 92.9 FM (ATL) / MSG TV & 98.7 FM (NY)
PG: Jeff Teague | SG: Shelvin Mack | SF: Kyle Korver | PF: DeMarre Carroll | C: Elton Brand
New York Knicks:
PG: Raymond Felton | SG: Pablo Prigioni | SF: J.R. Smith | PF: Carmelo Anthony | C: Tyson Chandler
Atlanta Hawks: Paul Millsap (knee contusion), Gustavo Ayon (right shoulder injury), Pero Antic (stress fracture, right ankle), Al Horford (right pectoral muscle surgery) and John Jenkins (lower back surgery) are out.
New York Knicks: Iman Shumpert, Andrea Bargnani and Kenyon Martin are out.
Current Records, Streak & Hot, Lukewarm, or Cold
Records: Atlanta Hawks (25-29) / New York Knicks (21-34)
Streaks: Atlanta Hawks –> OVERALL: Lost 8 | HOME: Lost 3 | ROAD: Lost 5 New York Knicks –> OVERALL: Lost 1 | HOME: Lost 1 | ROAD: Lost 1
Home/Away Records: Hawks are (16-10) at home / Knicks are (6-10) on the road.
Atlanta Hawks: Ice Cold. The Hawks are on a eight-game losing streak. Enough said.
New York Knicks. Cold. The Knicks SUCK.