|Hardaway returns to Atlanta as Hawks host Knicks|
ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Hawks hope their recent success against the New York Knicks can carry over to this rebuilding year and help them end a three-game losing streak.
Atlanta (3-15) hosts New York (10-7) on Friday at Philips Arena, the first of three meetings between the clubs this season.
The Hawks won their last three meetings with the Knicks and went 3-1 against them last season. This will be the only game between the two clubs in Atlanta, with the other two meetings scheduled for Madison Square Garden.
Atlanta is in a rebuilding mode after losing free agents Paul Millsap and Tim Hardaway Jr., who signed with the Knicks and is averaging 18.4 points. Hardaway's presence has helped offset some of the scoring that was lost when Carmelo Anthony was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Hawks are coming off a 116-103 loss to the Clippers on Wednesday, a decision that broke Los Angeles' nine-game losing streak. The Hawks have endured extended losing streaks this season, dropping eight straight and four straight, and they have settled into last place in the Eastern Conference.
A bright spot for Atlanta has been the development of rookie John Collins, who produced a double-double while making his first career start against the Clippers. Collins, a first-round pick from Wake Forest, has scored 35 points over the past two games and has shown increased confidence around the rim.
"John continues to be somebody that's growing, improving and playing well," Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said. "He's busting it out there. We want him to continue to take those steps forward."
Collins held his own against veteran Clippers frontcourt stalwarts Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
"Those are both All-Stars," Budenholzer said. "He continues to take the challenge and welcome the challenge. He has to be better and we have to be better as a team, but a lot of positives for John."
The Knicks are getting good play from 7-foot-3 Kristaps Porzingis, who this season became the youngest player to score at least 400 points through 15 games. Porzingis, who averages 27.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game, will provide another challenge for Collins.
Porzingis had 22 points and 12 rebounds in New York's 108-100 win over Toronto on Wednesday. He was instrumental in helping the Knicks outscore the Raptors 41-10 in the third quarter. Hardaway scored a career-high 38 points in the win, which included a 28-0 run during an eight-minute stretch.
"At halftime we had some strong words for each other," Porzingis said. "We talked about stuff we wanted to do better, and we came out in the second half looking like a different team."
It was the sixth time this season the Knicks won a game in which they trailed by double digits. New York is 10-2 when scoring 100 points.
The Knicks and Hawks typically play entertaining games. In January 2017, Atlanta won in New York on a last-second 3-pointer by Dennis Schroder, and the Hawks also beat the Knicks in Atlanta in four overtimes despite 45 points from Anthony.