New York, Jun 2 (EFE) .- The point guard Trae Young once again shone in a special way at Madison Square Garden by scoring 36 points and the Atlanta Hawks easily beat the New York Knicks 89-103 in the fifth game of the Eastern Conference playoff tie they won 4-1 to the best of seven.
Swiss center Clint Capela backed up his words of confidence the day before with a decisive double-double of 14 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks with the Hawks, who will play starting Sunday against the Philadelphia Sixers, number one in the East, in his first trip to the Eastern Conference semifinals since 2016.
Along with Young, who made 3 of 11 shots from outside the perimeter with nine assists and Capela, forward De’Andre Hunter had another 15 points and power forward John Collins reached 13 points, in addition to grabbing seven rebounds.
Young never looked like a rookie in the playoffs, hitting the winning shot with 0.9 seconds remaining in Game 1 and scoring at least 20 points in every game.
The Hawks’ star guard hit a 3-pointer with 43 seconds left for a 15-point lead, then stood in the middle of the court at the legendary Madison Square Garden and bowed to the booing crowd throughout the series.
The profane chants towards the base were less frequent than in the first two games of the series. Young was never molested by fans, one of whom was banned after spitting on Young in the second match.
Young’s sporting revenge was complete by eliminating the Knicks and sending them on an early vacation, even though they started the series with home court advantage.
Power forward Julius Randle was once again the best of the Knicks with a double-double of 23 points and 13 rebounds, but the New York team ended their participation in the postseason disappointingly.
The winner of the NBA’s Most Improved Player of the Year award, he hit just 8 of 21 shots from the field and concluded the series with 28 of 94 for a 30 percent accuracy.
He led the Knicks to a 41-31 record in his first season under coach Tom Thibodeau, with a pair of 40-point games during a three-game sweep over Atlanta during the regular season.
Canadian forward RJ Barrett scored 17 points as the second leading scorer, while veteran point guard Derrick Rose, who moved into the starting lineup during the series, was just 3 of 11 for six points, with no final winning factor either. .
This time around, the Hawks were by far the best team in the series, with only a poor second half of Game 2 preventing them from a sweep they had within their grasp.
That continued with a sharp rise for the Hawks, who went 27-11 after March 1, when Lloyd Pierce was fired and replaced by interim coach Nate McMillan.
The Hawks won both games in Atlanta easily and returned to New York confident they could close it out. Capela played down the Knicks’ attempts to play physically, saying Atlanta could do that and win the games as well.
Both coaches ignored the tougher conversation, but it seemed clear that the players’ emotions had risen.
Words were exchanged after power forward Taj Gibson’s flagrant foul on Hunter in the second quarter, and the players had to be separated at halftime after Knicks center Nerlens Noel and Atlanta power forward Solomon Hill collided with each other as teams left the court.
Noel, Randle and Hill were fouled. Young made a free throw on one of them before the game started in the third quarter to give Atlanta a six-point lead.
Then Randle made a 3-pointer to make the run 50-53, but the Knicks would only score four more baskets the rest of the period.
The Hawks’ nine straight points made the run 50-62 when Serbian guard Bogdan Bogdanovic hit a 3-pointer, breaking the team’s losing streak from outside the perimeter.
The margin remained at 12 points after the third quarter ended, with Randle having made seven shots from the field but also lost seven balls.
The Knicks could not make much of a dent in the fourth quarter, even the actor and film director Spike Lee, a famous fan of the Knicks, gave up and left with just over 3 minutes to go, as the Knicks did in their First postseason appearance since 2013.
(c) EFE Agency