Thursday, March 5, 2009
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Gwinnett Daily Post
NEW YORK - Larry Hughes scored 23 points to continue his turnaround from a rocky start with his new team, and the New York Knicks snapped a three-game losing streak with a 109-105 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.
Al Harrington had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Danilo Gallinari scored a career-high 17 points for New York, which got March off to a good start after a 3-10 February that damaged its hopes of making the playoffs in Mike D'Antoni's first season. Wilson Chandler finished with 18 points.
The Knicks entered the night only three games behind eighth-place Milwaukee in the race for the final Eastern Conference spot, but with four teams ahead of them and a road-heavy schedule remaining.
Al Horford had 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Hawks, who are trying to hold off Miami and Detroit for fourth place in the East but lost for the fifth time in seven games. Joe Johnson scored 18 points, Marvin Williams 17 and Josh Smith 16.
Hughes was acquired from Chicago at the trade deadline and began his Knicks career with three straight dreadful games, going 4-for-22 and quickly becoming a target of the fans' boos. But he averaged 22 points in two losses over the weekend and followed with a 9-for-18 night in 41 minutes Wednesday.
The Knicks, wearing Nueva York jerseys as part of 'Noche Latina' - Latin night - were without top reserve Nate Robinson, who had a sprained left ankle. Gallinari, the No. 6 overall pick in the draft from Italy who missed most of the first half of the season with a back injury, helped them overcome that with the best game of his injury-hampered career.
He checked back in with under 3 minutes remaining in the third quarter and quickly had a driving layup and stepped back for a 3-pointer, helping New York extend a four-point lead to 79-72. The Knicks led 84-75 after three, and Gallinari nailed another 3 to open the fourth and extend the lead to 12.