Atlanta Hawks look to keep winning streak alive vs. Knicks


The Atlanta Hawks have an Eastern Conference best five-game winning streak. Can they make it six in a row when the New York Knicks come to town Saturday?

After defeating the Detroit Pistons 107-100 Wednesday night, the Atlanta Hawks look to keep their Eastern Conference best five-game winning streak intact when they host the New York Knicks at Philips Arena Saturday night. Tipoff is at 7:30 PM ET and the game will air on Fox Sports Southeast.

With the Cleveland Cavaliers losing to the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day, the Atlanta Hawks are now only two games back of the Eastern Conference led in second place with a 19-12 record on the season. Atlanta boasts identically strong records both at home (11-6) and versus the Eastern Conference (11-6).

The Knicks have dropped their last two games, are 7-8 away from Madison Square Garden, and are 8-11 versus the Eastern Conference. New York is an improved team over last year’s 17-65 squad, but a 14-16 record is only good enough for 12th place at the moment in the surprisingly strong Eastern Conference.

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Knicks superstar small forward Carmelo Anthony was understandably miffed that New York didn’t play on Christmas this year. It seems like Knicks playing on Christmas is a right of passage, but likely that 17-65 record in 2014-15 didn’t help the New York cause. Sensational rookie Kristaps Porzingis said he has never played on Christmas before.

So expect the New York Knicks to come out with great energy on Saturday night due in large part from their absence of their supposed annual Christmas festivities. Though the Atlanta Hawks won earlier this season at Madison Square Garden (112-101 on October 29th), the Knicks should give Atlanta an interesting challenge on Saturday night.

During the Atlanta Hawks’ five-game winning streak, the team has risen for tenth place in the Eastern Conference all the way to second in the super tight East. Atlanta has looked strong on offense during this streak due to shooting from a higher clip from the outside, as well as a committed decision to attack the paint. Defensively, the Atlanta Hawks have held the own on the glass and have turned opponents’ costly turnovers into a strong transition offense.

The Atlanta Hawks will likely need a strong night from its starting front court of Kent Bazemore, Paul Millsap, and Al Horford. Bazemore will have the task of guard Carmelo Anthony, while Millsap will likely go up against Kristaps Porzingis and Horford will have to deal with the physical Robin Lopez down low.

Next: Atlanta Hawks: Eastern Conference Power Rankings, Dec. 24

This should stand as an exciting game for both teams. Hopefully the better team wins and extends its Eastern Conference best active winning streak to six games. Let’s Go Hawks!