NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Sunday, January 3, 2016, 7:12 PM
Arron Afflalo makes 7 of 8 three-pointers as the Knicks drop one of the Eastern Conference’s top teams Sunday at the Garden.
The Knicks got out to a lightning-quick start when they faced the Hawks a week ago, only to stumble in the second quarter and wilt down the stretch in an eventual demoralizing loss.
On Sunday, the Knicks received another chance at the Hawks in the first game of a home-and-home series. And this time, New York built a first-half lead, maintained it and closed out a 111-97 victory at the Garden behind Arron Afflalo.
Afflalo, who was limited to 10 points in the first matchup with Atlanta, led all scorers with 38 points in the victory. He finished just five points short of his career-high and shot 7 of 8 from beyond the arc.
The Knicks mirrored their start a week ago by jumping out to an 11-2 lead in the first three minutes of the contest. Afflalo’s second made jump shot of the game forced an Atlanta timeout. But the Hawks battled back and cut the Knicks lead to 1 point before the end of the first quarter.
The Knicks second unit then came on to provide support. Rookie Jerian Grant found Porzingis for a wide open three before Langston Galloway connected on a fall-away jumper. Derrick Williams then attacked the basket, beat his man with a Eurostep and finished with a righty scoop shot to put the Knicks ahead 33-25, forcing another Hawks timeout.
The Knicks continued to build their lead over the remainder of the second quarter. Porzingis swished a straightaway three to extend the advantage to 10 points. Later, Afflalo drilled a transition long ball to give the Knicks a 45-32 lead.
Carmelo Anthony and company are looking for something to spark a winning streak.
The Knicks led by as many as 15 later in the second quarter, but a 5-0 Hawks run to end the half cut the deficit to 10 points entering halftime.
Afflalo continued to pour it on in the second half, as the Knicks went back up by 15 early in the third quarter. Kyle Korver buried a three that pulled the Hawks back within eight points late in the period, but Robin Lopez responded with a jump hook in the final minute.
The Knicks then closed out the game in the fourth, leading by double-digits the whole 12 minutes. Afflalo’s three with just less than five minutes remaining, his seventh of the game, put the Knicks ahead 101-86. He exited late in the fourth quarter to a rousing ovation.