Atlanta Hawks Game Preview: Third Tango with the Knicks

Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

A preview of the Atlanta Hawks matchup tonight against the New York Knicks.

The Atlanta Hawks will play their third game of the season against Eastern Conference rival (and fellow tanking team) the New York Knicks.

The Knicks have bested the Hawks on two separate occasions this season. The first was both team’s first game of the year on October 17. Then, the Hawks lost a close one at State Farm Arena. On both occasions, former Hawk Tim Hardaway Jr. had strong games – with the second one providing THJ with career-bests in free throws made (16) and attempted (20) on the way to a 47-free throw game for New York.

New York has a variety of interesting young pieces – headlined by lottery pick Kevin Knox, second-round steal Mitchell Robinson and undrafted revelation Allonzo Trier, who was just signed to a guaranteed deal at the expense of Knicks legend Ron Baker.

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The Knicks also have a guaranteed point guard stopper in Frank Ntilikina, who should be on the Atlanta Hawks radar if the young, raw, defensively inclined point guard is available (though he really shouldn’t be if the Knicks want to rebuild the right way).

The Atlanta Hawks will also have to contend with former lottery picks Emmanuel Mudiay and Noah Vonleh, who have both experienced career resurgences in the Big Apple after falling onto the NBA scrapheap a season ago.

The ever-entertaining Enes Kanter played 30 minutes against the Hawks in these two team’s last meeting, putting up a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds. Atlanta rarely has an answer for Kanter’s efficient post scoring and ability to act as a play finisher. The team almost always lacks the necessary size to deter Kanter.

Even when they do have the size, like they do with Alex Len, he lacks the necessary skill set to truly stymie the beefy Turk.

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This game tips off at 7:30 p.m. in Madison Square Garden.