ATLANTA >> The Knicks didn’t falter when the Hawks made a late-game charge.
Fresh memories of a very recent win over Atlanta helped give New York confidence it wouldn’t lose the lead.
Arron Afflalo and Carmelo Anthony both scored 23 points, and the Knicks almost lost a 16-point lead before holding on to beat Atlanta 107-101 Tuesday night, giving them their second win over the Hawks in three days.
The Knicks, who have won three of four, also beat the Hawks 117-97 in New York on Sunday.
“It’s hard to beat a team twice in a row,” Anthony said. “We just had a different focus coming into tonight.”
The Knicks (17-19) matched their 2014-15 wins total. Anthony insisted he has no memory of the bitter last-place finish in the Eastern Conference.
“I told y’all I don’t remember last season,” Anthony said. “I’m serious. I don’t remember any of it.”
The Knicks led by 16 in the third quarter but saw the lead reduced to two points in the final minute before Jose Calderon scored on a drive with 18 seconds remaining.
Paul Millsap led Atlanta with 19 points. Jeff Teague had 16.
The undersized Hawks struggled matching up with the two 7-footers in New York’s lineup, Robin Lopez and rookie Kristaps Porzingis.
Porzingis had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Anthony finished with 11 rebounds and seven assists.
“He was doing everything for us, as a leader should do,” Porzingis said.
Porzingis made two free throws but Al Horford answered with a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to three. Atlanta’s Dennis Schroder made one of two free throws with 40 seconds left.
Calderon’s basket pushed the lead to four before Millsap dribbled the ball off his foot and out of bounds.
Afflalo opened the second half with two 3s, giving the Knicks a 60-49 lead and prompting a timeout by Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer.
Less than a minute later, Budenholzer called another timeout following back-to-back baskets by Porzingis and Lopez. Porzingis blocked a shot by Millsap, leading to the jam by Lopez.
“We dug ourselves a hole to start the third quarter,” Budenholzer said. “We can’t put ourselves there. It takes a lot of energy and a lot of fight to come back. I credit our guys for fighting and competing. But we have to be better for more of the 48 minutes.”
Horford had 13 points and 10 rebounds after finishing the first half with only two points.
With New York leading 99-95 and less than 2 minutes remaining, players had to be separated after Porzingis and Atlanta’s Kent Bazemore battled for a rebound. Following a video review of the altercation, each player was called for a technical foul.
“It was the heat of the moment,” Bazemore said. “A lot of guys competing. A lot of fire out there.”
NEW LOOK FOR NEW YORK
Lou Amundson almost fooled his coach when he shaved his “man bun” ponytail for his first crew cut since he was a freshman at UNLV.
“I barely did recognize him,” said Knicks coach Derek Fisher, who said the new-look Amundson qualified as the team’s “new guy.”
“We’ve added a new member to our team,” Fisher said. “So we’re good.”
Amundson, slowed by lower back spasms, did not play.
Knicks: New York outrebounded Atlanta 46-41 and outscored the Hawks 46-36 in the paint. … Lopez had nine points and eight rebounds. … Derrick Williams had 15 points and made all eight of his free throws.
Hawks: After missing the previous two games despite having no announced injury, Schroder had seven points and eight assists as he returned to his normal role as Teague’s top backup. … Facing his former New York teammates, Tim Hardaway Jr. made his first appearance since Nov. 28 and had three points.
Knicks: At Miami on Wednesday.
Hawks: At Philadelphia on Thursday.
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