Kemba Walker with triple-double on Christmas day leads Knicks past Hawks
Kemba Walker– the guy who was taken completely out from the rotation not too long ago, made the Garden chant his name on Christmas day in Knicks’ 101-87 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
The Bronx native received a standing ovation at the end of the game, making it hard to hide his smile. He finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists becoming the seventh NBA player to record a triple-double on Christmas.
“It was amazing. Those are moments that you dream about. It’s kind of hard to put it into words, to be honest.”
– Kemba Walker
Walker played his last game before being demoted, against the same Hawks on November 27th. Meanwhile the Knicks went 2-7 without him. With Walker back in the starting lineu-up the Knicks are 2-2.
The Knicks never trailed and built a quick 16-3 lead early in the game that kept them going. The Hawks tried to get back in the second quarter and managed to cut the lead at 4 with 2:52 before halftime behind Bojan Bogdanovic’s 25-foot three pointer that made it 51-47. Evan Fournier, however, had other plans and scored the next 10 straight points for the Knicks including two threes and the Knicks were again in double digits at halftime, 61-51.
After halftime, the Knicks led mostly in double figures, building a 21 point lead in the fourth quarter and had no threats from a Hawks team decimated by safety protocols. No less than nine players were restricted from playing including Trae Young, who although was not on the court, had his name chanted in New York fashion by the crowd.
Julius Randle scored a game high 25 points, shooting 9-15 from the field including 6-9 from behind the arc and collecting 12 boards for another double-double game. Fournier had 15 points, just like Quentin Grimes off the bench. Obi Toppin finished with 13 points and 4 rebounds and provided the home crowd with electrifying plays whether they were reverse alley-oops or behind the legs dunks.
The Hawks, who were on a six road game winning streak, were led by John Collins and Delon Wright who scored 20 points each while Skylar Mays led their bench with 11 points. The Hawks played their first Christmas game since 1989.
The Knicks, however, appeared 54 times on Christmas day but haven’t won since 2011 when they defeated the Boston Celtics. Their floor also got a City edition theme with black and orange elements that looked more like a Halloween look and feel.
Up-next: The Knicks (15-18) will embark on a four game road trip that starts on Tuesday in Minnesotta against the Timberwolves (15-17) from 8:00 pm.