ATLANTA - Carmelo Anthony was on the court two hours before the game, getting some extra shooting in, hoping to get in rhythm and break out of his slump. But he wasn't anywhere to be found in the last three quarters.
Anthony disappeared, but he had company in that department.
The Knicks wasted a 15-point first-half lead and dropped their fourth straight game, losing to the Hawks, 103-96, Saturday night at Philips Arena.
As much as the Knicks' offense failed them against the Hawks' pressure in the second half, their defense let them down again. They let Jeff Teague break them down and gave Kyle Korver open three-pointers all night. Korver was 6-for-9 from three-point range and scored 27 points. The Knicks (2-5) were outscored 57-35 in the game's final 24:10.
"They made an adjustment and I don't think we did a good job at adjusting or keeping the same energy and focus up that we had in that first half," Anthony said. "It seemed like when they put the pressure up on us a little bit, we kind of got back into that same position we were in the last couple of games."
Anthony was 18-for-64 from the field in the previous three games but got off to a great start Saturday night, shooting 6-for-10 and scoring 14 points in the first quarter.
Anthony, however, was 2-for-10 and had six points the rest of the way. It was the first time he reached 20 in four games, but it didn't matter.
"I felt great," he said. "Coming into the game, I felt good. First quarter, I felt good. I just kind of cooled down from there. I can't really put a finger on what happened."
Iman Shumpert, who blamed himself for the Knicks' loss to the Nets on Friday night because of his defense on Deron Williams, bounced back with a 19-point, seven-assist game before fouling out in the final minute. But he had trouble staying with Korver.
Tim Hardaway Jr. added 15 points and Amar'e Stoudemire had 14 points and nine rebounds.
Teague scored 19 for Atlanta. The more aggressive Hawks also shot 28-for-36 from the line, compared to 8-for-11 for the Knicks. "We couldn't figure out a way to defend without fouling," Derek Fisher said.
Fisher changed the starting lineup for the fourth consecutive game, going small with three guards, Anthony at power forward and Samuel Dalembert at center. It looked like a brilliant move as the Knicks led 61-48 at the half.
But Atlanta ended the third quarter on a 14-3 run and outscored the Knicks 27-13 in the quarter. After going ahead 71-61, the Knicks missed eight of their last nine shots and had five turnovers in the last six minutes.
"The third quarter, that's what really cost us," Fisher said. "We've had that happen to us a handful of times, a couple in the preseason, and earlier in the regular season so far, we've had that one big quarter turning the game."
The Knicks went ahead 85-79 on Hardaway's three-pointer with 7:36 to go, but Teague continued to get in the paint and Korver buried them with his long-range shooting.
Atlanta went on a 15-3 run and took a 94-88 lead on Teague's driving layup with 4:08 left. Korver knocked down two three-pointers in that stretch.
Shumpert drove and scored inside with 2:17 left to make it 94-90. The Knicks had a chance to draw closer, but Shumpert misfired on a jumper and Al Horford fed DeMarre Carroll for a wide-open three-pointer that gave Atlanta a 97-90 lead with 1:25 to go.
"In the second half they quote-unquote got more aggressive, which we have stuff for when people get aggressive for us," J.R. Smith said. "We've just got to get better at executing."