At the end of a loss in Game 2 against the New York Knicks On Wednesday, Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young – the newly coined theme of the aggression of the Knicks fans – left the square and looked back at the fans.
He told the crowd that the Hawks “would see you at the ‘A'”.
On Friday night, Young and the rest of the Hawks gave New York a greeting in Atlanta 105-94 game 3 win to take a 2-1 lead in the first-round playoff series in front of 15,743 fans at the State Farm Arena.
The Knicks defended Young more aggressively and flashed him more on Friday as they tried to slow his shooting efforts. He still led the Hawks with 21 points, but also had 14 assists, which resulted in only two ball losses.
Young was at his best in the first half when he had 10 assists and zero ball losses in one half for the first time in his career. Hawks trainer Nate McMillan said Young needed to use what the Knicks gave him, and that’s exactly what he did.
“If they collapse in color like the New York Defense does, the perimeter is open,” McMillan said. “He has to find these guys and get the ball to the shooters. If they stay on the edge, he has the ability to attack the big ones in color.
“He’s doing reads and making sure he’s watching the ball. He only had two losses tonight. This is a really good game for a point guard – 21, 14 and two. Those are great numbers that we want to see and.” we expect you to see it. It is good enough to enumerate those numbers. “
After the Knicks knotted the series on Wednesday, Young was not downcast. As he stepped off the pitch at Madison Square Garden, he seemed almost happy to see his Hawks battle it out in a home playoff competition with an almost full arena.
“The energy, the buzz in the building was great,” said Young. “Just having the fans back definitely helped. Their energy, we really fed the whole game from them. … This is my first experience at home in the playoffs. I’m looking forward to having a lot more of it . It’s so much fun. There is so much hustle and bustle in the building. “
Young averaged 31 points in the series’ first two games. Despite his scoring slump on Friday, he was able to include his teammates. In Game 1, Young scored a goal or assist with 56 points. In Game 2, that number dropped to 46. On Friday, it rose to 54.
“For me, I have to find ways to score, whether I’m going downhill and hitting or finding the open man,” said Young. “Tonight I had to find the open man because they were so aggressive.
Partly because of Young’s playmaking skills, the Hawks were able to shoot 51.9% from the field and 16 of 27 from the depths. This hot shooting helped the Hawks overcome a large free throw disparity. The Knicks went off the line 27 out of 30 while Atlanta was just 5 out of 8. According to ESPN Stats & Information Research, the minus 22 margin was the third worst free throw difference in a playoff win in NBA history.
Young led seven Hawks in double digits, including the rest of the starting XI – Bogdan Bogdanovic (fifteen), John Collins (14), Clint Capela (13) and De’Andre Hunter (11). McMillan said Young’s growing confidence in these players has fueled his advancement throughout the season and this series.
“He shows some growth in his game and manages and understands what he needs to do on the floor,” said McMillan. “He keeps all these guys involved but remains aggressive. And he reads well. And we talked a few times – he has to cut his sales. He’s too good a passerby to have five, six.” Turnover a game. Two are fine. But five, six is a big number for a guy who fits as well as him. “
Bogdanovic, who joined the Hawks as a free agent in November 2020 to allow for more shooting and final games, said Young was making the game “easy” for his teammates. Bogdanovic also knows that third year point guard has the best yet to come.
“As Nate said, he’s like a Ferrari,” said Bogdanovic. “And he’s just learning to drive the car.”