Knicks looking to get back on track against Hawks

Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks
Jan 6, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) and New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) react against the Toronto Raptors during the second quarter at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks will be taking on the Atlanta Hawks in Atlanta on Friday as they will look to snap their recent slide of tough losses and get back on track.

The Knicks are coming off a brutal wire-to-wire loss to the Washington Wizards in which New York shot an abysmal 7-26 from three-point range. They also lost paint beast Mitchell Robinson to an injury and will now be without him for at least the next three weeks after undergoing surgery for a fractured thumb.

This will be the third matchup between these two teams this season, and both teams are 1-1 against each other.

The Knicks will need to right the ship now:

The Knicks begin a grueling stretch against some of the league’s toughest opponents. They have lost their last two games, both of which were teams under .500, so things must turn around for them now.

Jalen Brunson has scored at least 25 points in eight consecutive games. In his last game against Washington, Brunson had 32 points and shot 11-24 from the field.

They will need another big game from him to stop a red-hot Hawks team.

The Hawks come into this game rolling, having won four consecutive games. In those four games, Dejounte Murray is playing some of the best basketball of his career, averaging 25/6/5 and is shooting 57.1% from the field and 56.5% from beyond the arc.

He and Trae Young are going to be the two guys that the Knicks will need to stop from scoring. The backcourt combination of those two is lethal from both a playmaking and scoring aspect.

Having Immanuel Quickley and Quentin Grimes take care of those two on defense would be the best options. Their intense activity on defense can help slow down Murray and Young’s fast-paced offense.

With Robinson out for the Knicks with his injury, they will have to improvise and find a good matchup for Hawks’ Clint Capela. Jericho Sims may be a good matchup, given that he is stronger and more athletic than Isaiah Hartenstein and can also jump higher and make rebounds tough for Capela to grab.

How Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau will approach that remains to be seen, but he has indicated that he will consider both big men to take over the starting gig to fill the void left by Robinson.

Looking at injuries for both sides, Robinson is the only Knicks player out. For the Hawks, Young is probable to play with a sore ankle, and Bogdan Bogdanovic is questionable with a sore knee.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @DylanBacker_

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