ATLANTA — After the end of a losing streak that lasted nearly six weeks, Knicks Coach David Fizdale had to give his team some credit.
“I keep talking about this team’s character,” Fizdale said. “It would’ve been very easy for us to check out and get on to wherever we’re going to go, but we were desperate men. Those guys wanted this game really badly, and they came out and showed it.”
Dennis Smith Jr. scored 19 points and the Knicks ended an 18-game losing streak with a 106-91 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night.
The Knicks ended their longest skid in franchise history within a single season by earning their first victory since Jan. 4, at the Los Angeles Lakers. The Knicks, with the Eastern Conference’s worst record and second-worst overall, had dropped 26 of 27.
Kadeem Allen and John Jenkins each added 14 points. Damyean Dotson finished with 13 points and DeAndre Jordan had 13 rebounds for the Knicks, who never trailed and only were tied twice, in the second quarter.
“I think we did a great job of guarding the pick-and-rolls tonight,” Smith said. “Our bigs did a good job of calling out the screens and switching and not giving them too many second chances.”
The Hawks, coming off an exciting victory over the Lakers two nights earlier, were flat throughout. They never pulled within single digits after John Collins’s hook shot made it 87-78 with 9:39 remaining.
Dewayne Dedmon led Atlanta with 21 points. Trae Young had 16 points and 11 assists.
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