Hawks: Dismal second half leads to Game 2 loss versus Knicks

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The Atlanta Hawks fell to the New York Knicks Wednesday night by a final score of 101-92. Atlanta led for most of the game, but the Knicks were able to take advantage of poor shooting and a questionable rotation for Atlanta down the stretch.

The Hawks came out in the first quarter on fire, at one point going on a 13-0 run. Atlanta had not lost any momentum from the previous matchup, and Trae Young seemed to still be feeling it after the 32-point game on Sunday, as he came out early with a highlight pull-up three.

De’Andre Hunter looked back to his old self, hitting a pair of threes during the run while continuing to bother Julius Randle on the defensive end.

Ultimately, after one quarter, the Hawks would hold a seven-point lead despite some poor bench play. This would prove to be the story of the night. The second quarter was more of the first, as the Hawks continued to make shots and hold off New York. More specifically, Trae Young was unstoppable, finishing the half with 20 points compared to Randle’s 2.

The Hawks led 57-44 after the first half, but the third quarter came with a cold shooting spell that saw the Knicks tie the game with 2:41 left on a Reggie Bullock made three. Nate McMillan elected to deploy a full bench lineup at this point, turning to Lou Williams, Kevin Huerter, Tony Snell, Danilo Gallinari, and rookie Onyeka Okongwu. Despite this lineups overall abysmal play on the night, the Hawks were trailing by just three with ten minutes left in the quarter. It seemed like the perfect time to get Young and company back in the game to close it out, however, Nate decided against putting the starters back in for a couple more minutes. When asked afterwards why he was resting guys for so long, he responded, “That’s our normal rotation. Trae normally comes back in at the 8 or 9 minute mark. Trae played 35 minutes… You’ve got to give your bench some time to try to get something going.”

Ultimately, the next minute and a half would prove to be the turning point in the contest, as the Knicks went on a 7-0 run to take a 10-point lead with 8:34 to go. This was when Nate finally decided to reinsert Trae into the game, after six minutes of game time on the bench. Still, the Hawks had a chance to come back, as they eventually got the score back even with 5:06 remaining on a nice alley oop from Young to Capela.

The Knicks, however, got the last laugh, and Julius Randle finally awoke from his shooting slump just in time to put the Hawks away down the stretch. New York used a 9-0 run that took place over four minutes to ice the game, thanks to Atlanta’s poor shooting. McMillan probably should have inserted his starters into the game sooner, but the Hawks shooting deserves the blame for this loss. The Knicks did a fine job of denying Trae scoring opportunities late, daring Bogdanovic and Hunter to beat them with made threes, something they weren’t able to do in the second half.

It’s not all doom and gloom for Atlanta, though; it’s a seven-game series. The Hawks return to Atlanta on Friday and hold home court advantage. Plus, Trae Young doesn’t seem too bothered about losing just one game.

 

Game 3 tips off at 7:00 PM.

Stats of the Night

Trae Young 30 points 7 assists 4/7 from three

Bogdan Bogdanovic 18 points 6 rebounds 2/13 from three

De’Andre Hunter 18 points 3/8 from three

 

Julius Randle 15 points 12 rebounds 5/16 from the field

Reggie Bullock 15 points 4/7 from three

Derrick Rose 26 points 4 rebound 4 assists 2/3 from three

 

Knicks fans – multiple obnoxious chants, one lugey spat

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