Clearly, these are not your father's Knicks anymore. The crowd may still chant "Dee-fense" at the Garden, but on Sunday the fans didn't often complete those two full syllables before Atlanta penetrated for an easy basket in the paint or buried a wide-open jumper.

The Knicks looked as if they'd never seen a pick and roll in their lives. They didn't hustle out to the perimeter, didn't switch off quickly enough to confront the jumper. The Hawks shot 60% from the field, scored 50 points in the paint. The Knicks were committed to this no-defense stance so thoroughly, they backed off Josh Smith and let the guy have an open 3-pointer at the end for the possible winner.

And yet, because Carmelo Anthony couldn't miss and because Smith did, none of this really mattered. It was Melo against the world, and for a night at least it worked out with a 106-104 victory over the Hawks. A fun time was had by all.

"Hey, we shot 54%, just one of those games," Mike Woodson said, finding reason for optimism. "We made plays when we had to make them."

Anthony made those plays, made everything possible by scoring and opening the court. He can shoot the Knicks back into any game, we know that by now. After missing seven of his first nine shots, Anthony suddenly felt the force and dropped a trio of 3-point bombs in the span of 55 seconds, turning a deficit into a second-quarter lead.

And he was just getting started.

"You feel like you can't miss," Anthony said. When he hit one from five feet behind the arc, he said, "I had no idea where I was at."

Anthony kept firing these perfectly calibrated missiles until he was 9-of-12 from beyond the arc, tying the Knicks' club record for threes.

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