Streaking Knicks set to visit collapsing Hawks

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January 10, 2022; New York, New York, United States; New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) warms up before the game against the San Antonio Spurs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta – USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks continue their heated streak Saturday in Atlanta, with each team entering the game going in different directions.

The Knicks are coming off a 108-85 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. New York has won two in a row and seven of its last 10 games.

Atlanta gave up a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost a 124-118 decision to the Miami Heat on Friday. The Hawks have lost four straight and eight of their last 10 games. The Hawks are 3½ games away from the last playoff spot, currently held by New York.

This will be the third meeting between the teams this season, with New York having won the previous two matches. Atlanta’s Trae Young missed Game 2 due to COVID-19. The Knicks have won six straight regular season games against the Hawks, although Atlanta beat New York in five games in the first round of the playoffs last season.

New York’s RJ Barrett is on a roll. He scored 32 points against the Mavs and, at age 21, became the youngest Knick to post consecutive 30-point games. His effort against Dallas helped New York reach the .500 mark for the first time since Dec. 7.

“I think we’re going to be successful if we keep doing the little things and keep working and being consistent throughout the season,” Barrett said. “As long as we do that, we will put ourselves in a good position.”

The teams exchanged on Thursday. The Hawks traded Cam Reddish to the Knicks in exchange for Kevin Knox and a 2022 protected first-round pick.

Reddish was Atlanta’s first draft pick and No. 10 overall in the 2019 draft. He has been hampered by injuries throughout his career, most recently a sprained ankle. In 34 games this season, he is averaging 11.9 points and 2.5 rebounds.

Knox was the ninth overall pick in the 2018 draft. After starting 57 games as a rookie, averaging 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds, Knox fell out of favor. He’s only played 13 games this season and is averaging 3.6 points and 1.7 rebounds.

“That gives us two, three weeks before the trade deadline to see if a little adjustment somehow changes the trajectory of the season,” Atlanta general manager Travis Schlenk said. “By doing this early, it gives us that little lead to assess.”

Reddish approached Schlenk in the offseason about being traded to a team he could play a bigger role with.

“He’s a super talent,” Schlenk said. “We all see that. But we are also trying to merge the team. … He could definitely go on and have an all-star caliber career and that wouldn’t shock me at all. … I fully understand where New York is coming from. If I was in New York and had three first-round picks like they did and you look at Cam Reddish’s potential, I get it.

However, Reddish will not play against his former side on Saturday. Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said Reddish will be out “for a while” with a sprained ankle.

–Field level media

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