New York Knicks: Who stepped up in long awaited win over Hawks?

New York Knicks Mitchell Robinson (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
New York Knicks Mitchell Robinson (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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New York Knicks
New York Knicks Kadeem Allen (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The New York Knicks ended their 18-game losing streak on Thursday night so, finally, let’s return to who stepped up in a team victory.

For the first time since Jan. 4, the New York Knicks won a basketball game. It was against one of the NBA’s worst teams, record-wise, the Atlanta Hawks, but when losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers days earlier factors in, does it matter the quality of opponent head coach David Fizdale’s team defeats at this point?

A 106-91 final score gave the Knicks their 11th victory. They are only a half game head of the Phoenix suns for the League’s worst record, but as the All-Star break arrives, it’s a positive development for a young team still learning to play professional basketball.

Some players who stepped up all season were in the spotlight Thursday night. For once, their contributions were meaningful and it created this outcome.

So, for the first time in six weeks, which players rose to the occasion in a Knicks win?

Kadeem Allen

Stat Line: 14 points, 2 rebounds, 9 assists, 5-for-9 shooting, 1-for-1 on 3-pointers
Season Slash Line (Prior to Game): .478/.727/.467
Season Averages (Prior to Game): 9.7 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 4.0 APG, 0.9 SPG

Second to an upcoming youngster from Thursday’s game, Kadeem Allen‘s work has provided the most pleasing outcomes over the past two weeks. From obscure player on a two-way contract to earning significant minutes, the New York Knicks might have something interesting here.

Granted, this was only Allen’s 10th game with the Knicks, but before this performance against Atlanta, he averaged 17.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 5.3 assists on 52.6 percent shooting in the past three contests. It all happened off the bench, as well, suddenly becoming the team’s sixth man in the process.

Allen has jumped Allonzo Trier in the guard rotation, somewhat surprisingly. New York’s original two-way player that earned an NBA contract in December, his first-half luster has worn off to just 8.6 points on 40.7 percent shooting since he began playing under this new deal.

As a result, Allen has taken advantage of an opportunity in the backcourt. He can play at the one and two, thus the assist output. Combo guards at 6-foot-3 sometimes struggle to find success in the NBA, and the sample size is still small on the second-year man, but nights like Thursday are positive.

Maybe, like Trier, Allen will earn an NBA contract, removing his status as a two-way player. There is roster room, and every reason exists for the Knicks to give the former Celtic a longer look.