Arguably one of the fanciest point guards in the NBA, Williams racked up 38 points in New Jersey's 100-92 victory in New York on Monday, leaving the Knicks with two losses in their last three games following an inspirational seven-game winning streak. Lin and the Knicks look to bounce back tonight versus the Atlanta Hawks in the finale of a five-game homestand.
Lin led the way with 21 points and Amare Stoudemire scored 17 for New York, which welcomed the return of injured forward Carmelo Anthony. Anthony had missed seven straight games with a groin injury and posted 11 points and six assists in 37 minutes. Landry Fields had 10 and 11 rebounds in defeat.
"I think any time you have three new players, people coming back your identity as a team is going to change with the personnel," said Lin, who fouled out for the first time in his career. "We are not in panic mode because it is not like people show up and you have great chemistry. We have to work through some struggles but as long as we are all committed we will be fine."
Lin is averaging 24.6 points as a starter (9 starts) and has scored 20-plus points nine times this season. Meanwhile, Knicks rookie Iman Shumpert sat out with a left knee injury and will be re-evaluated after the All-Star break. He is expected to compete in the dunk contest Saturday night and is listed as questionable for this evening.
New York is 2-2 on the residency and owns a 9-9 record in the Big Apple this season. After hosting Atlanta in the finale of the homestand, the Knicks will play five of six on the road, including Thursday's matchup in Miami.
February hasn't been too kind for the Hawks, as they sport a 3-7 mark through 10 games this month. The Hawks will close out a five-game road trip tonight against the Knicks and dropped to 1-3 on the swing following a 90-79 loss at Chicago on Monday night.
The Bulls welcomed back reigning MVP Derrick Rose and the All-Star guard posted 23 points in over 34 minutes of action. Rose had been out for quite some time with a lower back issue. Jannero Pargo had a season-high 19 points off the bench and Josh Smith added 17 and 12 rebounds for Atlanta, which got 12 points from Joe Johnson.
Johnson, however, is expected to miss a week of action because of left knee tendinitis. Johnson, the team's leading scorer at 17.6 points per game, left Monday's game after just 21 minutes because of the problem.
Atlanta expects to have forward Marvin Williams back for Wednesday's game after he missed the 90-79 loss to the Bulls to attend the funeral of a family member. He is averaging 9.6 points and 5.4 rebounds in 28 games this season.
The Hawks, who are 10-8 as the guest, will return to Georgia for a four-game homestand versus the Magic, Warriors, Bucks and Thunder after visiting the Knicks. New York and Atlanta split four meetings a year ago and the Knicks have won seven of the past 10 matchups between the teams.
Atlanta has lost seven of 11 and 17 of its last 22 at New York.