Hawks avoid overtime when Knicks' offense fails

ATLANTA -- No team takes more 3-pointers than the New York Knicks.

The Atlanta Hawks tried to keep pace, and it almost cost them the game.

The Hawks made only five of a season-high 26 3-pointers, but escaped with a 98-95 victory over the Knicks on Friday night when New York's Al Harrington missed a last-second 3 that would have forced overtime.

"We played their game," Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said.

The Knicks were close to their NBA-leading averages by making 11 of 34 3-pointers, but they needed to make 12.

With Atlanta leading by three, Harrington missed a jumper with 34 seconds left. Atlanta took the rebound and worked the clock down before Marvin Williams missed a long jumper with 5.6 seconds left.

After a timeout, Harrington passed to Chris Duhon, who was covered by Joe Johnson at the top of the circle. Duhon passed back to Harrington, who wasn't close on his hurried last-second attempt.

Duhon said he should have taken the shot.

"I just hesitated," Duhon said. "I saw them coming at me real fast. For whatever reason, I just didn't shoot the ball. I should have shot the ball. It was a great play."

Harrington scored 27 points but said he also regretted making his pass on the final play.

"It was designed for me to catch and shoot," Harrington said. "It was a great play, because I was open. I don't know, I just, when I turned and looked, I didn't feel comfortable enough so I tried to get it to somebody else."

Atlanta (12-6) is off to its best start since the 1997-98, when it was 15-3. Atlanta has won three straight and four of five.

Williams scored 18 points to lead Atlanta. Johnson added 17 points and Josh Smith had 16.

Johnson (1-for-7) and Smith (1-for-5) combined to make only two of 12 3-pointers.

"We got into what they wanted us to do -- shooting jump shots," Smith said.

"We were doing it, I guess, because we were open. They just weren't falling. If they were falling, nobody would be saying anything about it."

The Knicks lost despite holding an opponent under 100 points for the first time in 12 games.

"I think we got a lot of good effort tonight," said Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni.

"I'm encouraged by our play tonight, and we'll just go from here."

David Lee added 15 points and 11 rebounds for New York, and Wilson Chandler also had 15 points.

The Knicks had improved depth even as they continued to play without guard Stephon Marbury, who was ordered by team president Donnie Walsh on Monday to stay away from practices and games.

Nate Robinson had four points after missing four games because of a strained groin, and Jared Jeffries returned from a broken left fibula to make his first appearance of the season.

Jeffries had six points and seven rebounds but fell under the basket after scoring with 7:55 left to play. He limped back up the court, appearing to favor the left leg, and left the game. He didn't return but said he didn't aggravate the injury.

"More than anything it scared me," Jeffries said. "I'll get a lot better, get my legs back."

The Hawks used a 10-0 run to take a 48-36 lead in the second quarter. Smith scored six straight points in the run, giving him 14 points in his first 12 minutes.

Smith didn't score again until early in the final period.

Atlanta's Al Horford had 14 points and nine rebounds. Mike Bibby had 10 points, including two 3-pointers in the last 5 minutes.

Game notes
Hawks G Acie Law, suffering from flu symptoms, did not play. ... The Hawks, who swept the Knicks 4-0 last season, have won six of the last seven in the series. ... There was a sprinkling of Alabama crimson and Florida blue in the stands with fans in Atlanta for Saturday's Southeastern Conference championship game at the Georgia Dome. ... Maurice Evans had 11 points, and Flip Murray 10 for Atlanta.