Trae Young held up brilliantly in front of the Knicks and their fans once again.
The 2021 post-season villain and the Hawks essentially ended the Knicks’ second consecutive spring season, silencing the raucous Garden fans with 45 points and eight assists in a 117-111 victory Tuesday night to push the Knicks closer to a sporting elimination.
RJ Barrett was unable to fully face Young in the absence of top scorer Julius Randle through injury, as he finished off the Knicks with 30 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks, who are now six games behind Atlanta No. 10 to finish last in the East with only 10 to play. .
“The position we are in, all those games we should have. That’s it. But you’re not going to be eliminated until you have been eliminated, so keep fighting,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said after the game.[Young’s] The ability is to drive two [defenders] On the ball, we didn’t finish our defense.”
Of course, Young led Atlanta to oust the Knicks by five games in the first round of the playoffs last spring. He heard foul chants directed at him during the park’s three post-season games, but noted that the reaction from fans on Tuesday “was definitely not as loud as the playoffs.”
But the closest either the Hawks have come to incite the Knicks or the MSG crowd is Clint Capella wagging his index finger — Dikembe Mutombo-style — at Mitchell Robinson after a shot blocked in the first half.
“We knew we needed to come here and take care of the business first, so that was my main priority,” Young said. “I think the booty and what we were able to do on the field tonight and the energy we had in the crowd, I knew we were against everyone.”
The All-Stars did not play twice in the Christmas Day competition in New York this season due to COVID-19. The Knicks won that match with a hat-trick by goalkeeper Kimba Walker since the shutdown, and they also had two games in Atlanta on November 27 and January 15.
“You know Trae is going to be Trae. He’s special of course. A special talent,” Barrett said. “Also, the person who has the ball throughout the game will score. This is given. But he definitely shouldn’t have had a 45 or whatever he had.
The score was 3-1 [season] This year’s series, so we did a good job overall. But today was definitely tough.”
With Randle sidelined due to a daily quadriceps injury, those clamoring to see 2020 lottery pick Obi Tobin have been able to get more minutes of their wish in at least one game. Tobin crushed several points and finished with 10 points in 24 minutes in his third start of the season.
Alec Burks also contributed 21 points and Emmanuel Quikley had 17 points for the Knicks, who fell to 30-42 for a losing record after rebounding last year 41-31. Bogdan Bogdanovic supported Young by scoring 32 points for the Hawks (36-36).
Without Randle, the offense mostly passed through Barrett, and the Knicks held a 12-point lead midway through the second quarter. But Young finished the game with 24 — including four three-pointers — as the Hawks carried a 64-58 lead into the break.
The Knicks used 23-10 in the third round to seize 85-83, and with Young sitting to start fourth, they extended their advantage to 10 on 3-pointers from Quickley and rookie Miles McBride. But Bogdanovic scored eight points in Atlanta’s 13-4 win to take the difference to one point, and Young called from a long distance in the 105-105 match with less than three minutes to go.
And three subsequent throws from Bogdanovic, Deandre Hunter and two more from Buckeye Young picked up the equalizer and put the Knicks – who fired 14-26 from the free-throw line – down six ahead of 1:04.
“It has been a sense of urgency all year. We are just fighting,” Barrett said. “We have honestly played great basketball since the All-Star break. Some of these games have slipped away, but there is nothing else we can do besides get better every day.”
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