The management would like to make an announcement. For this afternoon's matinee performance, the role of the Atlanta Hawks will be played by Amar'e Stoudemire:
"We've got to be mentally ready for these early games, and we weren't. We didn't come out from the start with energy, we had to fight so hard to get back into it, but the Hawks had the confidence and momentum, and it's hard to beat a team when they're feeling that good."Joe Johnson on the good things (10 rebounds, 9 of them defensive, 7 assists, and no turnovers) he did:
"I had to be effective some way. I couldn’t make a damn shot. I just try to make up for it with defense, rebounding, getting guys shots. A lot of times they double me whether I am making shots or not. So I am just looking for open teammates."Al Horford on the increased defensive attention he's receiving:
"They are being more aggressive on me and almost forcing me to make other players and pass it out. It’s just something I am going to have to adjust to. I’m unselfish enough that I am going to get the ball and kick it out quickly."Larry Drew on the how the team missed Josh Smith defensively:
"We blew some defensive assignments, which we didn’t do the first half. We had some breakdowns. Some baskets they got in the second half, we did a good job with in the first half. With Josh, we know we can have a breakdown and he will erase our mistakes."Josh Smith (even more enthusiastic after the game than I) sets it up:
"We are helping each other now. We are having fun again, sharing the basketball, communicating. I think if we can put a string of games like that together, we can have a successful season."Michael Cunningham knocks it down:
Give the Hawks credit, but I’ve got two caveats. One is that the Knicks and Wizards just aren’t good enough to cause Atlanta the kind of frustration that comes from playing its best but still having to be precise and persistent for long periods. The other is that there’s energy and effort but then there are the limitations of the roster and how L.D. uses what he’s got.Larry Drew:
"They are going to start every game at a high energy level. Thus far, it's been two games since we made that pact, and we've done it."Cunningham also has a Jeff Teague update:
I’ve snooped around and so far all I can gather is Teague’s reduced role is nothing more than coach’s decision.The decision, I might add, of a coach given a short bench and little in the way of organizational authority or job security.
And Cunningham on Joe Johnson:
J.J.’s scoring struggles are becoming a big problem because now he’s wrecking Atlanta’s flow. There are times he’s just not in sync with what his teammates are doing and the ball stops when it gets to him, just like last season. It’s as if the more he struggles, the more he slows down his game as he thinks about what he can do to get a good shot instead of realizing he’d get plenty if he swung the ball around.Time to resurrect my theory that one of the reasons Johnson left Phoenix was that the way Steve Nash plays makes no sense to him?
Jamal Crawford on playing in Madison Square Garden:
"It’s always fun to come back here."Howard Beck's game recap in The New York Times focused on Crawford's return:
They cut the deficit to 4 points in the fourth quarter, then faded as Jamal Crawford, a former Knick, scored 10 points in a 21-8 Hawks run.
Crawford, who was traded two Novembers ago when the Knicks began purging salary, scored 21 points off the bench for the Hawks.
Crawford put on a familiar show, hitting tough fadeaways, off-balance runners and clutch 3-pointers.
A Knicks-Crawford reunion is possible. Crawford is due to become a free agent next summer, and the Hawks have been hesitant about offering an extension.
The Knicks will have cap room again when Eddy Curry, Crawford’s close friend, comes off the books, and. Their primary target will be Carmelo Anthony. But they have a clear need at shooting guard.
“I would definitely listen,” Crawford said.