Trae Young, Hawks try to take 3-1 series lead vs. Knicks


Fans watching the first-round playoff series between Atlanta and New York have seen what the Hawks’ Trae Young can do. They’re still waiting for the Knicks’ Julius Randle to show up with his best.

Young and Randle will be under the microscope again Sunday afternoon in Atlanta when the teams meet in Game 4 of their best-of-seven playoff series, which the Hawks lead 2-1.

Young scored 21 points and had 14 assists in Friday’s 105-94 win in Atlanta. He had 32 and 30 points as the teams split the first two games of the series in New York.

The Knicks’ Randle, voted the NBA’s Most Improved Player, has been frustrated through the first three games. He had 14 points and 11 rebounds in Game 3, but was just 2-for-15 from the field. He scored 15 points in each of the first two games and has faced constant double-teams, nearly 10 points off his season average (24.1).

“We’ve got to adapt and we will,” Randle said.

Young sparked the Hawks on a 22-5 run to close the first half of Game 3, which gave Atlanta a double-digit lead it enjoyed most of the second half.

“He doesn’t really have a weakness,” Atlanta coach Nate McMillan said of his third-year point guard playing in the playoffs for the first time. “He takes what the defense gives him. He does a good job finding the open man when the defense collapses in the paint. When they don’t, he’s attacking and finishing at the rim.”

That’s what Young did in the first game when he stunned the New York crowd with the game-winning floater with less than a second remaining for the Hawks’ 107-105 victory.

Teammate John Collins said, “When you have a guy that can find open seams, sees them and can make those passes, it just makes everything easier.”

“It feels great,” Young said. “This is my first experience at home in the playoffs. I’m looking forward to having a lot more of these.”

The difference in Game 3 was defense, said New York coach Tom Thibodeau — or a lack of it.

“I thought our defense in Game 2 was vital because it got us into the open floor, it got us some easy buckets and I didn’t think we ever really got our defense going (Friday),” he said. “We have to understand the intensity we have to bring to each game.”

The Knicks have leaned heavily on veteran Derrick Rose, who started for the first time in Game 3 and scored 30 points. Rose had 26 points in New York’s Game 2 win.

“If you’re not making plays with a shooting team like that, there’s no way you’re going to win the game,” Rose said.

Thibodeau retained a positive outlook about the rest of the series.

“Their attitude is very upbeat, and their work ethic is second to none,” he said. “We’re disappointed, obviously, in the way we played, and we’ll take a good, hard look at it and come back with more determination in the next game. We have great belief in each other. We have to settle back down and hopefully we’ll play better on Sunday.”

Atlanta has won 12 straight at home, where it is 20-2 over its last 22 games.

–Field Level Media

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

Community Calendar