(USA Today Sports)
(USA Today Sports)

One game into the NBA season and it is the Knicks who have come out hot, while the Hawks who had the best record in the Eastern Conference last season, have started cold. The Knicks had an impressive win last night, beating the Bucks 122-97 in Milwaukee and it was due to their bench. The Knicks bench outscored the Milwaukee reserves 73-32, led by former second-overall pick Derrick Williams who had 24 points.

Knicks head coach Derek Fisher was not surprised by the outcome, he was quoted saying, “They have a comfort level and the trust with each other even though it’s early.” If the Knicks are to continue their winning ways they will need the second unit to consistently put up points. Carmelo Anthony had a rough night, going 4-for-16 from the field, finishing with 11 points, but it was Williams and rookie Kristaps Porzingis who picked up the slack. The 7’3 rookie ended with 16 points and chipped in five rebounds in his NBA debut.

Atlanta, which won a club-record 60 games to capture the East’s regular-season title, more resembled the team that was swept by Cleveland in conference finals in their first game action of the season which ended in a 106-94 home loss to Detroit on Tuesday. The Hawks went 8-of-27 from 3-point range and allowed the Pistons to make 12-of-29 shots from beyond the arc, with Detroit owning a 59-40 rebounding advantage in a game it led by as many as 19.

A lot of that had to do with the Pistons Andre Drummond, who owned the boards en route to a 18 point and 19 rebounds opening night performance.

Kyle Korver, the Hawks 3-point ace scored only seven points and went 1-for-5 from three. The Hawks traded for Tim Hardaway Jr. on draft night as a potential replacement to Demarre Carroll who left for Toronto in free agency, and the ex-Knick is expected to be uniform Thursday after being inactive for the opener. Hardaway, New York’s first-round selection in the 2013 draft, averaged 10.8 points in two seasons with the Knicks. He was acquired for the draft rights to Jerian Grant, who contributed 10 points and five assists in his debut Wednesday.

It will be interesting to see what Hawks team shows up, and without Thabo Sefolosha who is still dealing with the effects of his injury at a NYC nightclub, their defense could suffer. Korver averaged 21.0 points in last season’s three meetings, making 13-of-27 shots from beyond the arc. The Hawks won last year’s series 2-1.

I like the Knicks to stay undefeated on the young season, sending the Hawks to a rough 0-2 start.

Prediction: Hawks 95 Knicks 99

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