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Reply To: NBA • Saturday Service Plays • 12/26/15

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Preview: New York At Atlanta

When: 7:30 PM ET, Saturday, December 26, 2015

Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

Most rookies experience ups and downs in their debut season, and the New York Knicks hope center Kristaps Porzingis is on the upswing again as New York travels to play at the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday. Porzingis, the fourth overall pick in June’s NBA draft, scored 23 points with 13 rebounds during Wednesday’s loss to Cleveland, snapping out of a miserable seven-game slump.

The 20-year-old Porzingis shot 20-of-69 from the field and did not score more than 13 points during the seven games, in which the Knicks won four in a row. While New York has since lost two in a row, the Hawks bring a five-game winning streak into Saturday’s contest after beating Detroit at home on Wednesday. Point guard Jeff Teague scored 23 points in the victory with nine assists, six rebounds and four steals. Atlanta beat the Knicks 112-101 in New York’s home opener Oct. 29, starting a seven-game winning streak for the Hawks.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, MSG (New York), FSN Southeast (Atlanta)

ABOUT THE KNICKS (14-16):
New York played Wednesday without forward Carmelo Anthony (left ankle sprain), and his 21.8 points per game were sorely missed as the Knicks shot 39 percent from the field. Guard Arron Afflalo scored 16 points against Cleveland, his sixth time reaching double figures in seven games. The Knicks rank near the bottom of the NBA in shooting from the field (43.1 percent), but are third in free-throw shooting (81 percent) after going 15-of-16 Wednesday.

ABOUT THE HAWKS (19-12):
Teague played one of his best all-around games of the season, a welcomed sign after Teague missed part of Friday’s game at Boston with an ankle injury. Atlanta’s bench continues to shine, scoring 34 points Tuesday as guard Dennis Schroder finished with 14 points and five assists – the fourth time in the past five games Schroder has scored 14 or more points off the bench. The Hawks are third in the NBA in assists per game (25).

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Teague paced the Hawks in the first meeting with New York, scoring 23 points with eight assists; Anthony led the Knicks with 25 points.

2. New York coach Derek Fisher told reporters late Wednesday he expects Anthony to play Saturday.

3. Atlanta G/F Kyle Korver tied Rashard Lewis for ninth place on the NBA’s all-time made 3-pointer list (1,787) in the third quarter Wednesday.

PREDICTION: Hawks 106, Knicks 96