The Atlanta Hawks (39-37) steamrolled the Oklahoma City Thunder and got a great supporting punch from reserve Kevin Knox while doing so. Now, at 39-37, they are two games above .500 for the first time in over three months after dropping a season-high 136 points with a season-high 85 points coming in the first half alone.
Oklahoma City came into the contest without its top four players and never led in a game that saw them fall behind by as much as 30 points.
Trae Young led the way with a 41-point effort that staked the Hawks to a 26-point lead through three quarters and allowed him to rest the entire final frame. The final deficit doesn’t tell the story of how the Hawks dominated.
Knox made sure that he was a part of the festivities.
Kevin Knox made sure to stay ready when his number was called upon vs OKC
Atlanta was without John Collins, Danilo Gallinari, and Jalen Johnson for this game leaving them without a true power forward on the active roster. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot drew the start in the absence of a real four and had a solid night with 10 points on 50.0 percent shooting and 66.7 percent from deep with three rebounds, three assists, and one block.
Luwawu-Cabarrot finished with a plus-15 plus-minus; second-best on the team.
Knox stole the show between the two subs dropping 17 points on 60.0 percent shooting while knocking down 3-of-6 triples with two rebounds, one steal, and one block.
The 17 points are his most in a Hawks uniform and his second-most of the season behind an 18-point, five rebound effort against the Milwaukee Bucks back in December when he was still a Knick.
That took him over 28 minutes to accomplish, though, whereas this took fewer than 18 minutes.
After hitting his lone shot, a triple, in his minute-plus of first-quarter action, Knox exploded in the second quarter. He tallied 12 points going 4-of-6 from the floor and 2-of-4 from deep. What’s more, all 12 of his points in the frame came consecutively for the Hawks in a span of fewer than 75 seconds.
Knox knocked down back-to-back threes and caught a Bogdan Bogdanovic lob in that run. He caught another lob, from Lou Williams, later in the second quarter and made his presence felt in the fourth quarter as well.
As the fourth-year man out of Kentucky told Hawks.com reporter, Annie Finberg, he did not settle.
Knox, who was acquired in exchange for Cam Reddish, has been buried even deeper on the Hawks bench than he was with the Knicks. He’s averaged just 1.6 points and 1.3 boards in fewer than 6.5 minutes per game with Atlanta.
That’s down from 3.6 points and 1.7 rebounds with New York on substantially better efficiency of 37.5 percent shooting overall (35.7% 3P) compared to 25.0 percent overall (6.7% 3P) in Atlanta.
His head coach certainly appreciated the effort in light of the Hawks injury situation which has plagued them all season.
“We needed him tonight…with all our forwards out. He stepped up and played really well for us, so, those were really good minutes” – Nate McMillan on Knox’s performance
Depending on how long the Hawks are without Gallinari and Johnson, Knox could very well get the opportunity to keep it going.