The last time the Atlanta Hawks faced the New York Knicks, there was a lot of trash talking both on and off of the Philips Arena floor. The Knicks fans were out en masse cheering for their team, irritating the home team. And then it all boiled over with 43.7 seconds remaining.
Who the heck can ever forget about "Scrawny Bowl I" when a normally chill dude named after one of the smoothest cats ever to create "baby making" music exchanged punches with a dude with the same last name? Marvin Gaye Williams and his Knicks counterpart Shawne Williams let the heated debate on the floor lead to fisticuffs on it in the waning seconds of an intense basketball game.
On Tuesday, it's time for the rematch in a venue that has hosted a big fight or two.
Atlanta hopes to go into the All-Star Break with a two-game winning streak after they take on the Knicks at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m., SportSouth, 97.9 FM). With a win, the Hawks (34-20) can ensure themselves of going into the weekend's festivities in at least a tie with the Orlando Magic (35-21) for second place in the hotly contested Southeast Division.
Orlando finishes its first half at home against the lowly Washington Wizards on Wednesday.
The Hawks snapped a two-game home losing streak by finally dispatching of the Detroit Pistons in the Motor City on Monday. Josh Smith had 27 points and Mike Bibby added 17 in the 94-79 win. Atlanta rallied from a 15 point second quarter deficit in that one to win for just the second time in 12 games in the Palace at Auburn Hills.
Atlanta now turns its attention to a New York team that may be without Amare Stoudemire. New York's free agent prize missed his first game of the season in the Knicks 105-95 win against the New Jersey Nets on Saturday. Stoudemire is hopeful that the sprained big toe injury that kept him out of that one will not sideline him on Wednesday.
If history is any indication, the Knicks could use all men on deck in what's likely to be a very physical affair.
New York and Atlanta have squared off two times this season. Both games were very intense. Both games were very physical. And both games ended in nine point Hawks victories.
Atlanta hopes for another stellar game from forward Josh Smith, who has been playing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder ever since he was snubbed again from the All-Star team. J Smoove is averaging 25 points and 10 rebounds over his last four games.