1. On Friday night, Courtney Lee sparked the Knicks in the fourth quarter to lift the home team to a 110-107 victory. Lee sparkled in the final stanza by scoring nine of his 16 points in the fourth period. New York launched a 12-2 run that upended the Hornets in a crucial Eastern Conference win in front of the MSG crowd. Kristaps Porzingis posted 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the floor and Carmelo Anthony added 11 boards to lift New York to its 13th home victory of the season.
2. Derrick Rose left Friday’s game late in the fourth quarter with a sprained left ankle. X-rays were negative abut Rose is listed as doubtful heading into Sunday’s matinee in Atlanta.
3. Lee delivered in the clutch when the Knicks needed an offensive scoring punch on Friday night considering Porzingis’ foul trouble and Anthony’s cold streak. Lee was efficient, hitting 7-of-12 shots from the floor on Friday, which follows up his season-high 23-point night in Dallas. Over his last five games, Lee is averaging 14.2 points on 55.3 percent shooting from the floor and 47.4 percent behind the arc.
4. The Hawks have been inconsistent after a seven-game winning streak early in January. Over its last 10 games, Atlanta is 6-4 and coming off a 26-point defeat against the surging Wizards. The Hawks are 27-20 on the season with a 13-10 record at home and in the fourth spot in the latest Eastern Conference standings. Washington is nipping on the heels of Atlanta, just a half game behind the Hawks entering Sunday’s contest. For Sunday’s series finale against the Knicks, Thabo Sefolosha is ruled out for the game with a left groin injury.
5. Atlanta holds a 2-1 season series advantage against the Knicks. In the first meeting, New York captured a 104-94 win at MSG behind 31 points from Anthony. In Game 2, the Hawks held the Knicks to just 13 fourth quarter points in a 102-98 home win. On January 16, Atlanta escaped the Mecca with a narrow 108-107 victory in an MLK matinee. Dennis Schroder dropped 28 points in 34 minutes to propel the Hawks past New York.
by Jonah Ballow