NEW YORK — A crowd that waited eight years to see one other Knicks playoff recreation wanted simply minutes to make Trae Younger its goal.
Younger heard the followers’ hate. Then he silenced them.
“I’ve at all times checked out it that I am doing one thing proper if I am affecting them with my play that a lot that they hate me that a lot,” he mentioned. “I am clearly doing one thing proper and simply bought to let my play do the speaking.”
Younger made a runner within the lane with 0.9 seconds left to provide the Atlanta Hawks a 107-105 victory over New York on Sunday evening in an exciting postseason return for each groups.
Younger completed with 32 factors, 10 assists and 7 rebounds. He annoyed the Knicks along with his capacity to attract fouls and made all 9 free throws when he did.
He appeared like Reggie Miller within the Nineteen Nineties, feeding off a New York crowd — that includes a rowdy Spike Lee, similar to these days — that cursed his title repeatedly when he made a shot or drew a foul.
“He’s small however he’s a troublesome child and he’s not afraid,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan mentioned.
Many within the loud crowd of greater than 15,000 jeered Younger all through the evening however he bought the ultimate phrase when he drove proper by means of the Knicks’ protection and floated in his shot from proper of the basket, then put his fingers to his lips to inform the gang to calm down.
“It is a coming-out social gathering for him and he’s able to do it,” teammate Lou Williams mentioned.
Bogdan Bogdanovic added 18 factors for the Hawks of their first postseason recreation since 2017.
Alec Burks scored 27 factors for the Knicks, who’re again within the playoffs for the primary time since 2013. Derrick Rose scored 17 factors, however Julius Randle shot simply 6 for 23 whereas ending with 15 factors and 12 rebounds.
The Knicks host Recreation 2 on Wednesday evening, when Randle will attempt to bounce again. He had two 40-point video games towards Atlanta this season.
“Acquired a recreation, bought to really feel it out a little bit bit and I’ll regulate,” the All-Star mentioned.
Neither group led by greater than six factors in a fourth quarter throughout which the groups took turns regaining after which dropping momentum. Younger made a pair of free throws for a 105-103 lead with 28 seconds left after the Knicks unsuccessfully challenged the decision, and Rose tied it with a basket with 9.8 seconds to go.
Younger then introduced the ball up and was speculated to get a display from John Collins. However Collins’ sneaker fell off so Younger waved him off and dealt with issues himself.
New York hadn’t hosted a playoff recreation in eight years and hadn’t hosted many followers all season, with its largest crowd throughout the common season 1,981.
So the 15,047 the Knicks introduced Sunday sounded deafening at occasions, significantly when RJ Barrett slammed it over Bogdanovic to forge a 63-all tie with 5:19 left within the third, with followers chanting his title throughout Atlanta’s ensuing timeout.
The Knicks had been capable of improve seating capability with the addition of sections for absolutely vaccinated followers, saying throughout the week that Video games 1 and a couple of had each bought out and can be the most important indoor occasions in New York for the reason that coronavirus pandemic started.
Random chants and cheers broke out even earlier than gamers took the court docket for his or her ultimate warmups, and the Knicks had been greeted by a standing ovation once they emerged with about quarter-hour to go earlier than the beginning.
However the Knicks could not give the followers a lot to cheer as soon as the sport began. Atlanta jumped to a 17-7 lead because the Knicks missed 14 of their first 17 pictures.
“Having followers I believe is nice,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau mentioned, “however we’ve bought to play higher.”
Hawks: Atlanta improved to 2-8 towards the Knicks in playoff video games, and snapped a four-game dropping streak to them in all video games courting to final season.
Knicks: Thibodeau introduced Rose, the Knicks’ Sixth Man Award finalist, off the bench simply 4 minutes, 15 seconds into the sport. … Barrett had 14 factors and 11 rebounds.
Thibodeau was requested his favourite playoff reminiscence when his time as a Knicks assistant from 1996-03 and got here up with two, each from 1999: Allan Houston’s series-winner towards Miami and Larry Johnson’s four-play play towards Indiana within the Japanese Convention finals.
“We had the Allan Houston shot towards Miami. It doesn’t get a lot greater than that after which after all LJ’s four-point shot,” Thibodeau mentioned. “LJ’s four-point shot, I’ve by no means heard a constructing as loud because the Backyard was after that shot”
In between these sequence, the Knicks swept the Hawks within the second spherical.
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