New York Knicks bounce back to 13-13 with win at home

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 10: Frank Ntilikina
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 10: Frank Ntilikina /

The New York Knicks have been struggling on the road this season, but playing lights out at home securing a much-needed victory against the Atlanta Hawks 111-107.

The New York Knicks are at the very least giving their fans the security of knowing if they play at Madison Square Garden, they have an excellent chance of winning that night.

What stood out in their victory over the Atlanta Hawks Sunday night, aside from the Knicks jumping back to .500 when they needed it most, was the bench performance. Jarrett Jack had his best game as a Knick, as well as Doug McDermott, and there was even a much-needed and exciting performance from Ron Baker.

While Tim Hardaway Jr. has been out due to injury for the past few games, it should be hard for fans to complain about a lack of competitiveness or solid all-around play. Even without their number two scorer in THJ, it seems every game another player is stepping up to get things done.

Early on in the season, Kristaps Porzingis was heating up like a volcano while Enes Kanter solidified his position as a starter. But more recently, we have seen Frank Ntilikina coming into his own as an offensive player and Courtney Lee posting phenomenal numbers.

The fun does not stop there, as it seems this New York Knicks squad is intent with playing with a chip on its shoulder for the remainder of the 2017-18 season. It was certainly hard to predict the Knicks getting by without Carmelo Anthony, let alone starting the first quarter of the season 13-13.

The Atlanta Hawks surely are not the cream of the crop by any means, but winning at home is important, especially when the Knicks are the worst team on the road so far this season.

Who stood out and stepped up

The New York Knicks bench has had some bright spots throughout the season and it has always been a different player providing them. Against the Hawks, the Knicks bench consisted of Michael Beasley, Doug McDermott, Kyle O’ Quinn, Frank Ntilikina, and finally we got some extended Ron Baker minutes. On the night, the bench finished with some pretty impressive numbers.

  • A total of 45 points scored
  • Shot 15-of-30 from the field
  • Shot 4-of-9 from 3-point range
  • Made 11-of-13 free throw attempts
  • Ended the night with a collective plus/minus of +46

Doug McDermott had a season high and personal best night putting up 23 points, while Jarrett Jack also had his best game as a Knick, scoring 19 points on 63.6 percent shooting from the field. Ron Baker has spent most of his season on the bench, but also found himself with a season-high 31 minutes played, scoring nine points and four assists.

Frank Ntilikina has looked much more comfortable taking shots as opposed to his usual approach of passing first, which is nice to see from their promising draft pick.

Kristaps Porzingis had a night that was much-needed after an upsetting and disappointing loss against the Chicago Bulls the night prior. He finished the night with 30 points on 43.5 shooting from the field. However, his struggles from beyond the arc continue, as he shot just 1-for-5 from downtown. One can only hope that his elbow is not the direct cause and he is just having a slump from beyond the arc.

For the Knicks being without the second option scorer in Tim Hardaway Jr. they’re playing competitive basketball, playing with a purpose while still working on their overall team chemistry. If they can find a way to play at least half as good on the road as they have been playing at the Garden so far this season, an eighth seed in the playoffs should be close and fought for down to the wire.

Next: 2017-18 Week 9 NBA Power Rankings

The Knicks have some very winnable games approaching, as they next host the Lakers at home, and then two straight games on the road against the Brooklyn Nets and their former teammate Carmelo Anthony in Oklahoma City.