The Knicks hold on for the one-point win over the Hawks behind Danilo Gallinari's 27 points.
Chandler's last-second block saves win for Knicks
By Adam Zagoria, for NBA.com
Posted Monday March 8, 2010 11:18PM
NEW YORK (NBA.com exclusive) -- The Knicks have absorbed criticism all year long for their lack of interior defense.
But on Monday night, Wilson Chandler led the Knicks to a dramatic 99-98 victory over the Atlanta Hawks with a last-second block of Josh Smith's dunk attempt at the rim.
For a brief instant, it appeared that the Hawks had pulled off a 100-99 victory after Al Horford hit a 3-foot putback jumper upon gathering Chandler's block with .6 seconds remaining.
But after the Madison Square Garden announcer initially informed the crowd of 19,763 that the Hawks had won, the officials overturned the call by replay and ruled that Horford's shot was no good because it came after time expired.
"When I caught the ball, your instinct is just to shoot the ball. I wasn't aware of the clock, I didn't know what was going on. I just threw it up there," Horford said. "Obviously, it wasn't good but we had our chance."
"It wasn't even close," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "I knew it wasn't even close so thank goodness for instant replay."
The Knicks (22-41) won for just the third time in 15 games even with seven-time All-Star Tracy McGrady sitting on the bench resting his surgically repaired left knee.
McGrady, who managed just two points on 1-for-6 shooting in Saturday's blowout loss to the Nets, told D'Antoni before the game that he wasn't able to go. He underwent microfracture surgery in February 2009 and is still working his way back. He is expected to play Wednesday at San Antonio.
"I told Tracy it's not a sprint, it's a marathon to get him back to where he needs to go. It's definitely not surprising," D'Antoni said before the game.
Without McGrady, Danilo Gallinari poured in a game-high 27 points, making 4 of 5 from deep, and the Knicks were 10-for-15 from beyond the arc, while Atlanta was just 3-for-17.
That was especially significant considering New York set an NBA record for futility by going 0-for-18 from deep against the Nets 48 hours earlier.
David Lee added 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks and Al Harrington scored 14 points off the bench.
Smith led Atlanta (40-23) with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Joe Johnson, one of the 2010 free agents the Knicks are targeting with their $30 million-plus in salary-cap space, added 22 points. Horford scored 19 and former Knick Jamal Crawford had 16 off the bench.
After New York took a 95-85 on a 3-pointer by Chandler, Atlanta used an 11-2 run to cut it to 97-96 on five straight points from Johnson.
After Smith scored on a putback to cut the Knick lead to 99-98, Toney Douglas dribbled upcourt and lost the ball near the Knicks' basket.
Crawford recovered, pushed the ball the other way and fed it to Smith in the paint.
But as Smith went up for the dunk, Chandler elevated and got all ball.
"It was a clean block," Chandler said. "I'm just happy we won."
The ball rebounded out to Horford, who drained a jumper after the light went off.
"I thought I saw the red light go off," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "It would've been nice but it went off before the ball actually went in."
Asked if he considered calling a timeout after his team gained possession on the turnover, Woodson said: "Maybe I should've called a timeout but again we got a great play at the rim. 'Smooth' [Smith] normally finishes those but hey, we didn't get the break there at the end."
NOTES: Knicks center Eddy Curry is expected to play at San Antonio Wednesday. The 7-foot Curry hasn't played since Jan. 18 after having surgery to remove loose cartilage in his knee.