Postseason ends as Knicks lose game 5 to Hawks, 89-103
- Updated: June 3, 2021
And so, Knicks’ first playoff appearance in eight years ended last night after five postseason games against the #5 seed, Atlanta Hawks, who sent New York on vacation – as Hawks’ center, Clint Capella promised – following a 89-103 win at the Garden.
Both teams finished the regular season with a similar record of 41 wins and 31 losses but the Knicks defeated the Hawks in all match-ups, thus winning the tie-breaker and the number four seed that gave them home court advantage.
Unfortunately, the Knicks managed to win just game 2 of the series as the Hawks proved to be a much tougher opponent in the playoffs than expected and cruised over the #4 seed making it seem to easy for them.
Last night, as the Knicks were fighting for surviving, thing broke down for them once again after halftime when the Hawks, who were leading 53-50, started the third quarter on a 9-0 run and started to build on that. With 5:44 left the Knicks were already trailing by 19 points and the season was over.
“This was their first run to the playoffs so there’s learning that goes along with it. Trial and error is a big part of learning until you get that experience. And there’s only one way to get experience is you have to get it. It’s a big part of learning and hopefully we can take that moving forward.”
– Tom Thibodeau
Julius Randle, who struggled the entire series had one of his better performances shooting 8-21 from the field (still low compared to regular season) and scored a team-high 23 points while also grabbing 13 boards. He was followed by RJ Barrett’s 17 points off a 5-14 shooting and Reggie Bullock with 12 buckets.
Derrick Rose, who carried the team on his back in the first four games finished with just 6 points after the terrific effort he put in game four. He faded in the second half and didn’t play in the fourth quarter. Immanuel Quickley and Alec Burks combined 23 points off the bench. Burks was the only player in double digits that shot 50% from the field.
On the other side, the Hawks were led by Trae Young’s 36 points and 9 assists. De’Andre Hunter scored 15 and Clint Capella was in double double with 14 buckets and 15 boards.
The Hawks will advance to the second round where they’ll meet the #1 seed, Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers moved past the Washington Wizards in 5 games but the sudden meniscus tear in Joel Embiid’s knee might be a problem for them.
The Knicks will have to analyze the good and the bad, decide on who to keep, who to move and who to bring in during the summer. They have several picks on Draft night and money to spend in the free agency. Julius Randle’s contract is up. Will he get an extension? Will Derrick Rose continue to be part of Tom Thibodeau’s plans? Will the front office sign a franchise player or continue to build around the young core?
Like it or not, it was a season to remember. Tom Thibodeau exceeded the most optimistic expectations with what he succeeded to do with this team in his first season as head-coach and things are finally looking bright again over Broadway.