(The Sports Xchange) - Forward Paul Millsap scored 22 points to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 117-98 victory over the fading New York Knicks at Philips Arena on Saturday.
The Hawks, last year’s top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, overcame an early 15-point deficit to win for the sixth consecutive time.
The good run has enabled Atlanta (20-12) to surge into second place in the Eastern Conference, just percentage points behind the first-place Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Knicks (14-17) were manhandled under the basket by the smaller Hawks and dropped their third straight game. Atlanta outscored the Knicks 62-32 in the paint.
New York forward Carmelo Anthony returned the lineup after missing a loss at Cleveland on Wednesday with a sprained ankle. Anthony scored 18 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Knicks.
Rookie forward Kristaps Porzingis finished with nine points.
The Hawks led 87-75 entering the fourth quarter and the advantage quickly ballooned to 20 on a straight-on three-pointer from guard Kyle Korver with 6:10 to play.
It was the sharp-shooting Korver’s only bucket of the game but his team mates picked up the slack.
Forward Mike Scott came off the bench to score 18 points, including a pair of three-pointers, and forward Kent Bazemore also connected twice from long range.
Forward Al Horford added 19 points, and point guard Jeff Teague finished with 17 for the Hawks.
The Knicks got off to a sizzling start, shooting 63.6 percent in the first quarter. They led 18-4 midway through the quarter, but the Hawks weathered the barrage and climbed back into the game in the second quarter.
Teague beat the buzzer with a 28-foot three-pointer that cut Knicks’ lead to 63-60 at halftime.
Forwards Lance Thomas and Derrick Williams each came off the bench to score 12 points for the Knicks.
The Hawks took their first lead, 71-68, on a three-pointer by Bazemore with 7:56 left in the third quarter.
Atlanta has scored at 100 points in all six games of their current win streak. The Knicks committed 22 turnovers, leading to 22 Atlanta points.
Editing by John O'Brien