Drama hits MSG as Knicks drop game one, 107-105 in thriller
The Knicks made it to postseason for the first time since 2013 and got the opponent they wished for. The fans crowded Madison Square Garden like it was the 90s, a packed arena with over 15.000 fans, an NBA record by pandemic standards, but their team failed to deliver.
And just like in the 90s, the crowd got themselves a villain and started to pick on him within the first minutes. And just like in the 90s, it backfired. But this time it was neither Reggie Miller nor Michael Jordan; it was Hawks’ Trae Young.
As soon as he made his second basket of the game, a “F- Trae Young” chant erupted in the building and Young fed himself off that.
The Knicks trailed basically the entire first half but in the third quarter, they went on a 10-0 run that gave them a 73-66 lead with 1:12 remaining. The Hawks were quick to reply with Lou Williams scoring five consecutive points to cut the lead 73-71 before the fourth quarter.
The final act was electric, there were several lead changes but neither led by more than three. Alec Burks made a couple of key shots down the stretch that gave the Knicks a 103-100 lead with 1:11 left to play. Bojan Bogdanovic tied it fast with a three pointer, then Young made a couple of frees to put the Hawks up by two. Julius Randle’s long three went way off but Taj Gibson with the offensive rebound saved the ball and after several movements it got to Derrick Rose who’s floater tied it with 9.8 on the clock.
Atlanta’s guard torched the Knicks with 32 points and 10 assists including the game winner that dropped with 0.7 left, to nullify New York’s home court advantage and take Game 1 of the series, 107-105. Young put his index finger to his lips while the crowd was silenced.
“I’m glad fans are back, MSG was rocking tonight, and I’m glad everyone got to experience it. I definitely know the history of players coming in here and being hated, and I take that as a compliment, to be honest with you.”
– Trae Young
Burks was red hot for the Knicks. He led the team with 27 points off the bench shooting 9-13 but he wasn’t the go-t0-guy when the final play was set. In spite of shooting just 6-23 from the field, the ball was handed to Randle who got double teamed and couldn’t put it up in time.
“That’s how it happened. Give credit to them, Young hit a tough shot at the end of the game, but we fought hard. I’m proud of my teammates and the coaching staff. We’ll be ready for the next game.”
– Alec Burks
Rose scored 17 points, Randle was in double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, RJ Barrett was also in double-double with 14 buckets and 11 boards and Immanuel Quickley added 10 points. Frank Ntilikina who played under a minute was given the tough job to guard Trae Young on the final plays. He was able to force a turnover before halftime but wasn’t able to stop him from hitting the dagger.
“Obviously you’re putting Frank in for his defense. But [Young] made a good play, we’ll take a look at the film and go from there.”
– Tom Thibodeau
Game 2 of the series will be on Wednesday evening from 7:30 pm.