Five observations from 91-85 win over Knicks

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Atlanta Hawks v New York Knicks

Hawks forward Paul Millsap backs toward the basket while being guarded by Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony during Monday night’s game at Madison Square Garden. (Associated Press)

Those two controversial losses are long gone.

The Hawks evened their record at 3-3 with back-to-back wins over the Knicks, including Monday’s 91-85 victory at Madison Square Garden.

Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 19 points but it was the play of reserve Dennis Schroder that sparked the Hawks.

Here are five observations from the game:

1. This time, Schroder got all the backup point guard minutes. The second-year guard has got increased minutes in each of the past four games. As starter Jeff Teague struggled against the Knicks, Schroder was on the court in the final four minutes. He hit a running jump shot with 1:55 left to give the Hawks a five-point lead. He followed with a driving layup with 59 seconds left for a seven-point edge. Schroder played 27:55 and scored a career-high 14 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter.

“He was very good tonight,” coach Mike Budenholzer said.

Shelvin Mack did not play Monday against the Knicks after playing just 4:32 against them Saturday. The Hawks went to a backcourt of both Teague and Schroder for extended minutes in the first half.

2. Teague had a rough night. He played 25:26 and scored three points, all at the free-throw line. He was 0 of 4 from the field with three misses from 3-point range. Still, the Hawks won. That makes the win impressive. Teague is clearly the catalyst for the team. If the Hawks can win when he struggles, that shows depth and another dimension to their offense and defense.

3. Paul Millsap again drew most of the assignment of guarding Carmelo Anthony. He got help, as he did Saturday, as the Hawks harassed the Knicks star. He finished with a game-high 25 points but it came on 11 of 25 shooting, including 0 of 5 from 3-point range. Thabo Sefolosha and DeMarre Carroll helped but Millsap led the team in scoring despite the defensive assignment.

4. Defense was a bright spot for the Hawks in this one. Budenholzer wants to keep the opposition under 30 points per quarter. They did just that against the Knicks, who scored 16, 22, 21 and 26 points each period. The Knicks didn’t take advantage of a height advantage and seemed content to take outside shots. They shot 43.4 percent (36 of 83). As they were Saturday, the Knicks didn’t get to the free-throw line. They were 8 of 11 Saturday and 7 of 12 Monday.The Hawks managed to win shooting a season-low 38 percent (27 of 71).

5. Budenholzer has shortened his bench more in recent games. He used 10 players Saturday and nine Monday. Kent Bazemore has not played in the past two games. Elton Brand has played only in the season opener. Mike Muscala has not played this season. John Jenkins and Adreian Payne have been inactive for all six games. Budenholzer said ideally he would like to use a 10-man rotation.


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