The New York Knicks added another embarrassing result to their standing this season, dropping a 99-96 decision to the Atlanta Hawks, the worst team in the NBA, on Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.
Squandering a four-point lead in the final minute, Kent Bazemore’s three-pointer with 8.5 seconds remaining relegated the Knicks to their third-straight loss.
New York’s two best offensive options were not on their game as Kristaps Porzingis’ inconsistent 22 points and Tim Hardaway’s nine on 3-of-9 shooting hampered the Knicks all night.
Porzingis was a non-factor for most of the night with just six points in the first half, forcing the Knicks to look elsewhere for some kind of scoring presence.
But the afternoon was clouded with controversy after a late three-point play by Hardaway was negated because the officials forgot to give Bazemore a third free throw on the previous Hawks possession.
Had Hardaway’s play stood, the Knicks would have taken a six-point lead with just under 3:40 remaining in the game. Instead, it was just a two-point advantage after Bazemore made his added third free throw.
The most productive Knick of the night was backup point guard Trey Burke, who put up 14 points in 20 minutes on 6-of-10 shooting as he kept the Knicks in the game early on despite being held to just 36-percent shooting in a first half that saw Porzingis record just six points.
They got a boost though in Enes Kanter, who helped picked up the slack scored all 10 points of his points in the third, to get the offense back in motion.
Burke and Kanter’s efforts was doing just enough for the Knicks to maintain a slim advantage over the Hawks that rarely wavered from more than a two-possession game in the final minutes.
Up four in the final minute, after Porzingis missed his second free throw and Hardaway Jr. ill-advisedly chucked up a poor shot after wrangling in the offensive rebound, Mike Muscala’s three-pointer cut it to one-point with 47 seconds to go.
The Knicks came up empty on the following possession after Kyle O’Quinn attempted a difficult fadeaway jumper from the free-throw line, setting up Atlanta’s game-winner thanks to precise ball movement in their transition game.
The Knicks had a pair of chances to at least tie in the final seconds, but Hardaway stepped out of bounds on the baseline with 6.3 seconds to go.
After Dewayne Dedmon hit one of two free throws to make a three-point game, Hardaway missed a three-pointer as time expired.