From Marc Berman:
It was as earsplitting as the Garden has been in years, let alone this pandemic season when the building’s been mostly empty.
But Hawks point guard Trae Young was louder on Sunday night. He quieted the roar and Atlanta escaped with a 107-105 victory over the Knicks in a Game 1 thriller on a night Julius Randle’s playoff debut was a quiet dud.
In his own first playoff appearance, Young hit the game-winner with 0.9 seconds left as he deked defensive specialist Frank Ntilikina, drove past him with a series of crossover moves and hit his patented floater over Randle to break the tie. Suddenly, 15,000 frenzied fans who had chanted his name in vain earlier in the night went still.
After his basket, Young took his fingers to his mouth and made a gesture of shushing the crowd that chanted his name in profane fashion beginning with his first 3-point make in the first quarter.
“I’ve always looked at it as I’m doing something right,” Young said. “If I’m offending them with my play that they hate me that much, I’m obviously doing something right.’’
It was such a tough loss that I didn’t feel like doing a post-game post last night, so here it is now.
But obviously, they lost by two points, it’s not like they got their ass kicked. I wouldn’t lean too much on “Our guys shot poorly” when they also had key players who shot terribly (until making their shots late when it counted, which was true for Randle, as well, as he hit a contested three that put the Knicks up 101-100 late in the game), but I think whenever you lose by two points scored late in the game, it means you clearly were in the game. Young just was the best player on the court last night. Let’s hope that’s not the case on Wednesday.
I sometimes think Thibs just continues to start Payton to see how strong the power is on his “appeal to authority.” The Payton thing was a miss, but otherwise, I think Thibs did a fine job coaching last night. I think the Hawks just had better players last night. At the end of the game, there are only a handful of Knicks you actually want to have the ball (or rather, there’s only a handful of Knicks who ever will shoot the ball) while the Hawks got big threes from DeAndre Hunter and Bogo (who hit one of the coldest-blooded threes you’ll ever see, with a muffled pass and a defender draped all over him he somehow squeezed out a game-tying three from the corner) and obviously Young feels confident in going to Gallo (who I practically expected to do one of the wrestling heel moves where he tears off his Hawks jersey to show he was wearing a Knick jersey all along, that’s how much he hurt the Hawks last night. He was practically the Knicks MVP), Huerter, Collins and Capela, as well (and Lou Williams was outstanding himself when he took over the offense for a while). However, calling his own number was typically the right call for Young, as he sliced and diced the Knicks strong defense with his insane speed.
Now, having Alec Burks inbound the ball with less than a second left when he’s the guy you probably want taking that shot? Probably not the best idea, but overall, the Knicks lost because Trae Young had a superstar game and Randle did not. I don’t even really mean that as a knock on Randle, but just saying that Young had a superstar game and he did not and the Hawks won by just two points. It’s really as simple as that.
Let us hope that the Knicks get even on Wednesday.