Knicks vs. Hawks score, takeaways: Kemba Walker posts rare NBA Christmas Day triple-double as New York rolls – ZellaNews

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Every week after returning to the New York Knicks’ rotation, Kemba Walker unwrapped a triple-double on Christmas Day. Walker wasn’t the Knicks’ greatest participant in Saturday’s 101-87 win over the Atlanta Hawks — that honor is definitely Julius Randle’s — however, given the circumstances, his 10 factors, 12 assists and 10 rebounds added as much as the most important story. 

Walker recorded the seventh Christmas triple-double in NBA historical past and first for a Knick. (This was New York’s 54th Christmas sport, a league excessive.) He did not shoot significantly nicely (3 for 12 total, 2 for 9 from deep) however, outdoors of Randle, did the lion’s share of the playmaking, with Derrick Rose recovering from ankle surgical procedure, Immanuel Quickley reconditioning after a stint within the well being and security protocols and Miles McBride nonetheless in protocols. When Walker checked out after enjoying 40 minutes, the Madison Square Garden crowd stood up and chanted his title. 

This follows Walker’s 44-level efficiency towards the Washington Wizards on Thursday. Walker didn’t play a single minute in between Nov. 26 and Dec. 18. 

Randle completed with 25 factors on 9-for-15 taking pictures, together with 6 for 9 from deep, plus 12 rebounds, wanting just like the All-Star participant that he was through the 2020-21 common season. Rookie Quentin Grimes, recent out of COVID protocols, shot 5 for 12 from 3-level vary off the bench. 

The Hawks, in the meantime, had been something however merry. Shorthanded with out Trae Young and Kevin Huerter, amongst different gamers in protocols, they shot 33 for 87 from the sphere. Delon Wright and John Collins scored 20 factors apiece, however starters Bogdan Bogdanovic, Cam Reddish and Clint Capela scored a mixed 24 factors on 8-for-34 taking pictures. Here are three takeaways from the Knicks’ spectacular Christmas Day win.

1. Randle the Red-nosed Reindeer?

Early within the sport, ESPN’s “wired” section caught Randle saying he was within the Christmas spirit. If the vacation accounts for the additional pep in his step, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau ought to take into account sporting a Santa Claus costume to each sport going ahead.

This wasn’t simply robust shot-making, though there was actually a few of that. Randle made fast selections upon catching the ball, and he gave it up when he drew an additional defender. The Knicks would certainly have appreciated to see him take greater than 4 free throws, however he cannot be accused of missing aggression. 

Down by 17 factors with lower than 4 minutes left within the fourth quarter, Atlanta referred to as a timeout. Randle learn the Hawks’ after-timeout play completely, ripped the ball proper out of Bogdanovic’s arms and, seconds later, made his sixth 3 of the evening. This sequence successfully ended the sport. 

Randle’s profession yr was primarily pushed by scorching-sizzling taking pictures, and it was at all times going to be troublesome to maintain that. His off-ball protection has deteriorated this season, although, so the late steal stood out. The approach these Knicks are constructed, they do not at all times want Randle to go off the best way he did towards Atlanta, however they do want him to be locked in defensively and discover locations to assault inside the circulate of the offense. More of this, please. 

2. Fire away

The Knicks shot 20 for 50 from deep, essentially the most they’ve made or tried since going 24 for 54 towards the Orlando Magic within the second sport of the season. This is decidedly not the shot profile of a typical Thibodeau crew, however this explicit Thibodeau crew has taken 3s at an above-common price all yr. 

Launching tons of 3s will not be inherently superior for an offense. This sport didn’t, nevertheless, characteristic New York indiscriminately jacking up contested 3s. On the very first possession, Walker stepped right into a pull-up 3 out of a decide-and-roll and nailed it. Over and over, Grimes discovered himself large open within the nook, because of Walker and Randle moving into the paint. The Knicks usually are not a quick-paced crew, however they repeatedly discovered clear appears in transition off of Atlanta’s turnovers and misses across the rim.

Related: The Hawks’ transition protection has been horrible all season, and generally they’ve taken an enormous step again on that finish. New York is amongst many groups which have put them in rotation with relative ease, then moved the ball and created the form of 3s it was on the lookout for.

3. Yuck!

Atlanta scored a season-low 94.6 factors per 100 possessions. The Knicks’ protection deserves credit score, however the Hawks fell down 19-3 in lower than 5 minutes as a result of they could not make something, contested or not. 

On the season, the Hawks’ offense has been elite. To be clear, the first purpose Atlanta struggled at Madison Square Garden is that it was lacking Young, Huerter, De’Andre Hunter, Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams. I’m unsure what can moderately be anticipated of bench lineups that embrace Skylar Mays, Lance Stephenson, Jalen Johnson and Gorgui Dieng all enjoying on the identical time. (Side notice: Shoutout to Dieng and his crew-excessive 5-assists.)

You would hope, although, that Young’s absence would give Bogdanovic a chance to shine as a playmaker. You’d hope that Reddish’s forays into off-the-dribble creation would go significantly better than they did. Heading into Christmas, the Hawks had scored simply 102.1 factors per 100 possessions with Young off the court docket this season, excluding rubbish time, in response to Cleaning The Glass. This one gross offensive efficiency is comprehensible, however, extra broadly talking, a crew this deep should not be so depending on one participant’s decide-and-roll sport. 

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