NEW YORK – – A crowd that waited eight years to see another Knicks playoff game only needed minutes to make Trae Young their target.
Young heard the hatred from the fans. Then he silenced them.
“I’ve always watched like I’m doing something right if I affect them so much with my game that they hate me so much,” he said. “I’m obviously doing something right and I just have to let my room speak.
Young made a runner in lane with 0.9 seconds left to give the Atlanta Hawks a 107-105 victory over New York on Sunday night in a thrilling playoff comeback for both teams.
Young finished with 32 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. He frustrated the Knicks with his fouling ability and made all nine free throws when he did.
He looked like Reggie Miller in the 1990s, feeding off a New York crowd – with a rowdy Spike Lee, just like back then – who cursed his name repeatedly when he shot or fouled.
“He’s small but he’s a tough kid and he’s not afraid,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said.
Many in the boisterous crowd of over 15,000 taunted Young throughout the night, but he had the last laugh when he walked through the Knicks defense and floated in his shot from the right of the basket, then put his fingers to his lips to tell the crowd to calm down.
“It’s a night out for him and he’s up for it,” said teammate Lou Williams.
Bogdan Bogdanovic added 18 points for the Hawks in their first postseason game since 2017.
Alec Burks scored 27 points for the Knicks, who are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Derrick Rose scored 17 points, but Julius Randle shot just 6 for 23 while finishing with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
The Knicks host Game 2 on Wednesday night, when Randle tries to bounce back. He has played two 40-point games against Atlanta this season.
“I have a game, I have to feel it a bit and I’m going to adjust,” said the All-Star.
Neither team led by more than six points in a fourth quarter in which the teams relaunched to regain and then lose momentum. Young made a pair of free throws for a 105-103 lead with 28 seconds remaining after the Knicks unsuccessfully challenged the call, and Rose tied with a basket 9.8 seconds remaining.
Young then lifted the ball and was supposed to get a screen from John Collins. But Collins’ sneaker fell off so Young waved him over and took care of things himself.
New York hadn’t hosted a playoff game in eight years and hadn’t hosted many fans all season, with its largest crowd during the 1981 regular season.
So the 15,047 the Knicks announced on Sunday seemed deafening at times, especially when RJ Barrett slammed him against Bogdanovic for forging a 63-all tie with 5:19 left to play in third, with fans chanting his name during the time. Atlanta’s next death.
The Knicks were able to increase seating with the addition of sections for fully vaccinated fans, announcing during the week that Games 1 and 2 were both sold out and would be the biggest indoor events in New York City since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Random chants and cheers erupted before the players even took to the field for their final warm-ups, and the Knicks were greeted with a standing ovation. when they appeared with about 15 minutes before departure.
But the Knicks couldn’t give fans much joy once the game started. Atlanta took a 17-7 lead as the Knicks missed 14 of their first 17 shots.
“Having fans, I think it’s great,” said Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau, “but we have to play better.
Hawks: Atlanta improved to 2-8 against the Knicks in the playoffs and ended a four-game losing streak against them in every game dating back to last season.
Knicks: Thibodeau knocked the Knicks’ Sixth Man Award finalist Rose off the bench just 4 minutes and 15 seconds into the game. … Barrett had 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Thibodeau was asked about his favorite playoff memory when he was an assistant to the Knicks from 1996 to 2003 and found two, both from 1999: Allan Houston series winner against Miami and the four-game game. of Larry Johnson against Indiana in the Eastern Conference final.
“We had the shot from Allan Houston against Miami. It doesn’t get much bigger than that and of course LJ’s four-point shot, ”Thibodeau said. “The four point photo of LJ, I have never heard a building as loud as the garden after this photo”
Between those playoffs, the Knicks swept the Hawks in the second round.