The first Hawks playoff game since 2017 failed to disappoint, as they won a thriller over the Knicks in the Garden. Trae Young specifically put on a show as he poured in 32 points, including the game-winning floater with under a second to go. To get to that point, however, it took a team effort.
The Hawks got out to a hot start, taking a seven-point lead halfway through the first quarter on a huge slam from John Collins off the alley-oop pass from Trae Young. From there, the Hawks continued to have their way, as they led by 11 at the first quarter break. John Collins especially shined early on, as he set the tone in his first playoff game.
The second quarter was not so kind to Atlanta, as the bench unit struggled to score and get stops. Derrick Rose made his presence felt throughout the game but did most of his damage in the second as he helped lead the Knicks on a nice run down the stretch and cut the lead to just two. The Knicks bench as a whole outscored the Hawks’ bench 34-17 in the first half.
For the Hawks, Trae Young tallied a cool 11 points and six assists, while Collins led the team in scoring with 12. Julius Randle struggled mightily throughout the game, and the first half was no exception. The potential All-NBA forward shot just 3/10 through two quarters, with seven points. While De’Andre Hunter contributed little on the offensive end (zero points in the first half), he proved to be able to bother Randle defensively.
The third quarter was a struggle for both teams offensively, however, more so for the Hawks. At one point, Atlanta went three minutes without scoring. Gallinari played much of the quarter, and despite his new hairstyle, struggled to find his shot. He ended the quarter 2/10 from the field. The Hawks were facing a seven-point deficit heading into the fourth; however, five straight points from Lou Williams pulled the Hawks to within two at the break, keeping the team alive. The midseason addition has had his ups and downs since being traded, but Williams played a significant role in the Hawks win. He would end the night with 13 points on 6/9 shooting with multiple shots to end Knicks runs.
Lou didn’t stop at the end of the third, either, as he made a nice play early in the fourth to tie the game at 73-73 with a floater. From there, the teams went back and forth until around the five-minute mark. With 4:46 to go, Alec Burks hit his second three of the night to put the Knicks up five. Burks was by far the Knicks most surprising performer, contributing 27 points and multiple late buckets.
Immediately following the three, though, Trae Young drew a shooting foul and knocked down both free throws. With now just 3:40 to go and the Hawks down two, Young fired a phenomenal skip pass to Bogdan Bogdanovic in the corner, who hit the three to put the Hawks up 94-93. Immediately following that shot, a miss from Burks led to a wide-open De’Andre Hunter three set up by Trae Young, which he drilled to put the Hawks up four.
The Knicks would not go away, however. They followed up a Young and-one with back-to-back Burks buckets to go up three with just 1:11 to go. At that point, perhaps the second most pivotal play of the night occurred. Bogdan Bogdanovic was able to corral a loose ball and knocked down the three-point shot to tie the game with under a minute to go.
A Knicks miss on the next possession and two made free throws from Trae Young would put the Hawks up two with 28 seconds left. The following possession, however, could have spelled disaster for Atlanta. After a horrible miss from Julius Randle, the Knicks were able to corral the offensive rebound and find Derrick Rose for an open floater to tie the game with 10 seconds left. The Hawks certainly would have looked back on that missed rebound much differently had the following play not taken place.
With the game on the line and in the biggest moment of his career, Trae Young delivered the biggest shot of his life. The Knicks tried to bring in defensive specialist Frank Ntilikina but Young made short work of him to find the open lane. His signature floater found the bottom of the net and would prove to be the game winner. If you’re a Hawks fan, enjoy watching this on loop for the next couple of days:
Trae Young has arrived Hawks fans pic.twitter.com/LR5RumIzof
— Christian Salvador (@CSalvador2484) May 24, 2021
Young finished the game with 32 points, 10 assists (just 2 turnovers), and 7 rebounds. Following the big shot, he let the fans at MSG know just how quiet it had gotten.
This came after MSG reigned down chants of “F-CK Trae Young”. The third-year point guard has been constantly slighted by the national media for one reason or another, and every time he does something they say he can’t, they seemingly come up with another excuse for why he isn’t one of the best players in the league. Well, he just dropped 32 and 10 — plus the game-winner — on the best defensive team in the league. Welcome to New York, Ice Trae.
Stats of the Game
Trae Young 32 points 10 assists
John Collins 12 points 7 rebounds
Bogdan Bogdanovic 18 points 4/9 from three
For New York:
Alec Burks 27 points 9/13 from the field
Julius Randle 15 points 12 rebound 6/23 from the field
Derrick Rose 17 points 5 rebounds 5 assists