NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, October 29, 2015, 10:59 PM
Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks struggle against the Hawks in their home opener on Thursday.
Kristaps Porzingis, the player who was booed on draft night and received a huge ovation in the pregame introductions, intercepted a pass near midcourt, completed a dribble-spin around Hawks forward Paul Millsap and finished a breakaway jam.
There was about eight minutes remaining in the third quarter and the crowd exploded, because after last season’s debacle, the Knicks fans were full of hope.
Except that moment was short lived. The run never materialized and the encore was a dud.
Following an encouraging opener – mirage? – in Milwaukee on Wednesday, the Knicks opened at the Garden a day later and trailed by double digits for the entire second half of a 112-101 defeat.
Justin Holliday gets up for a dunk as Atlanta opens a big lead.
It was a struggle again for Carmelo Anthony, who missed 17 of his 27 shots and finished with an ineffective 25 points. In his two games back from knee surgery, he’s shooting 14-for-43. He’s also a noted despiser of back-to-back games.
Porzingis also didn’t do much aside from that impressive third-quarter display of athleticism. He had 10 points in 26 minutes with five fouls and three turnovers. The starting backcourt of Jose Calderon and Sasha Vujacic was especially abysmal, combining for eight points on 2-for-13 shooting.
The Knicks (1-1) missed 23 3-pointers, and the Hawks (1-1), the team that won 60 games last season, followed their M.O. by spreading out the scoring. They also shot 51 percent for the game, shredding New York’s defense.
Kristaps Porzingis provides on of the Knicks few highlights of the night.
Coach Derek Fisher wants this year’s team to think less about the triangle and more about picking up the pace. The problem Thursday was the Hawks were better at that game, scoring 25 fastbreak points. The Knicks also committed 21 turnovers. It was often ugly.
“I think in a lot of ways last season we allowed the conversation about the triangle to drive everybody’s mindset,” Fisher said. “This year we kind of – even though our offense hasn’t changed really – what we wanted to make clear to our guys is that when we make people miss, the first objective is to go score as quickly as possible before the defense gets set. There’s no shape to that… We won’t score 122 every night (like Wednesday in Milwaukee). But hopefully we’ll score more than we did a year ago.”
The game also represented a Garden return for Tim Hardaway Jr., who said he carried a chip on his shoulder after the trade. But he never got off the bench, even as coach Mike Budenholzer cleared the bench in garbage time.
Hawks guard Dennis Schroeder blankets Knicks’ Langston Galloway.
In two games with the Hawks, Hardaway Jr. has zero minutes.
“It never feels good to get traded,” he said. But then you’re with a team at the end of the day that wants you.”
Hardaway Jr. said he was at Clyde Frazier’s restaurant with Langston Galloway and Cleanthony Early when he learned he was traded on draft day for the draft rights to Jerian Grant, the 19th overall pick.
“There was shock, disbelief, and then a first flight out to Atlanta.”
The Knicks like who they got in the deal. Grant logged 29 minutes with five points.