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Robinson's huge fourth leads Knicks over Hawks

Jan 29, 2009 - 4:42 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Nate Robinson supplied the highlight-reel play, David Lee took care of business with another double-double and the New York Knicks had another victory.

Robinson triggered a decisive fourth-quarter run with an alley-oop dunk and Lee collected 16 points and 17 rebounds for his 34th double-double as the Knicks defeated the slumping Atlanta Hawks, 112-104, on Wednesday.

Robinson continued his recent run of productive games by scoring 20 of his 24 points in the fourth, helping the Knicks to their fifth straight home victory and seventh in 10 games overall.

Before reaching 20 points for the 12th time, Robinson had been 2-of-7 from the floor. When he was done with his outburst, Robinson finished 8-of-15 from the floor and is 42-of-81 from the field over his last six games.

"I just always try to bring energy," Robinson said. "It's all confidence. Even when I was missing, they kept telling me just shoot it. You got to shoot your way out of slumps."

"He gave us a lot tonight," Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni said. "The fourth quarter was almost all him. He has an energy that not many people have. An athleticism that is unbelievable. When it is channeled in the right direction, he is one of the better players."

Prior to this run, Robinson had a seven-game stretch that saw him shoot 26-of-95.

It also coincided with New York falling to 13-22 but now with its next three home games coming against the Los Angeles Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics, it is 20-25 and percentage points behind Milwaukee for the final playoff spot in the East.

"He was in a little slump," New York's Quentin Richardson said. "He's just feeling good, getting a little confidence and his swagger back, saluting everybody and doing what he does. He's just Nate Robinson being Nate Robinson, and I'm glad to see him back."

Part of his act was the aforementioned salute, which Robinson has adopted since playing the video game "Call of Duty." He told an opponent on the interactive game his name but had to prove it by doing the salute during a game.

Lee posted his 34th double-double, moving into a tie for the league's lead with Orlando center Dwight Howard. He had it by the third quarter, when the Knicks turned an eight-point

deficit into an eight-point lead.

Besides the play of Robinson and Lee, New York also had solid performances from point guard Chris Duhon, who collected a double-double of his own with 16 points and 11 assists.

Duhon scored 11 of his points in the third, when the Knicks took the lead for good and had five assists in the fourth - with four coming on baskets from Robinson.

Al Harrington added 16 points, Richardson contributed 14 and Wilson Chandler chipped in 12 for New York, which shot 50 percent (44-of-88) and outscored Atlanta, 65-49, in the second half.

"We had a lot of guys step up tonight," Lee said. "Nate had struggled a couple of weeks ago with his shot. He has really come back and has had a couple of good games shooting the ball."

While the Knicks continued their recent run of good games, it was another tough night for the Hawks, who lost their third in a row and have dropped nine of their last 14.

Marvin Williams led Atlanta with 28 points while Josh Smith added 26 and 12 rebounds. Smith shot 2-of-10 from the line and the Hawks turned in an awful 17-of-32 showing from the stripe.

"In the first half, everything was clicking and positive," Smith said. "We came out as a totally different team in the second half. We just didn't come out to play in the third and they attacked us."

The free-throw problems were not the only issue for Atlanta, which had off nights from its backcourt of Mike Bibby and Joe Johnson. Johnson scored 15 points but was 5-of-15 from the field and Bibby finished 2-of-13 from the floor.

"We couldn't make shots and then we missed free throws," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "That's deflating. You miss 15 free throws and that puts you behind the eight ball. There is no excuse."

The game began to turn in New York's favor after Atlanta made it a four-point game on Smith's layup with 8:07 remaining.

Robinson scored New York's next nine points, opening the surge with an alley-oop and Lee had one of his own, giving New York a 100-87 edge with 5:07 left. In between dunks, Robinson drove in for a pair of layups and buried a 3-pointer.

Before surging ahead in the fourth, New York allowed the Hawks to shoot 53 percent in the first half and engineer a pair of runs en route to a 55-47 deficit. The Knicks then held the Hawks to 19 points in the third and took the lead for good on Richardson's 3-pointer with 6:08 left.