Trae Young’s 27 points and nine assists powered the Atlanta Hawks past the New York Knicks 113-96 Sunday afternoon in front of an animated and raucous sellout crowd of 16,458 in State Farm Arena for this playoff matinee.

The Hawks take a 3-1 series lead heading back to Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night.

Atlanta shot 44% from the field and 38% from three-point range. They also out-rebounded the Knicks 48-39.

“I remember when I was starting my training while they were in the bubble and for me it was frustrating,” Young said, remembering back to when the Hawks didn’t play well enough to qualify for the playoffs.”I wish I did more for our team to get there. For our team to get here, it means a lot. It’s just the beginning.”

John Collins had 22 points and eight rebounds. In the third quarter, he suffered a busted lip that required stitches. He would come back later on and finish the game.

“He’s played well for us all season long,” said Hawks interim head coach Nate McMillan of Collins. “He got into foul trouble two games ago and wasn’t able to stay on the floor. When he’s out on the floor, it just helps us so much.”

“We wanted to come out here and protect home court, as we did,” Collins said. “We understand these home games meant a lot for us, going back to a hostile environment. We just wanted to make sure we did our job, did what we needed to do to put ourselves in the best position.”

Danilo Gallinari had 21 points off the bench for the Hawks.

Clint Capela had 10 points and 15 rebounds, as he continued to control the painted area for Atlanta.

What spelled trouble for the Knicks was their lack of defense, which normally is a staple of a Tom Thibodeau coached team. Atlanta started the second half with a 15-5 run and did not look back.

“I have to be a lot better. I need to continue to be a lot better,” Randle acknowledged. “This is all a learning experience. I need to get better individually, we need to get better as a team.”

Even though Julius Randle had 23 points and 10 rebounds, his plus/minus was -17. Derrick Rose had 18 points and six assists, but his plus/minus was -22. In the fourth quarter, Rose had to be checked out by a trainer. At that point in the time, the outcome of Sunday’s contest was no longer in doubt.

Randle committed a hard foul on Gallinari with 3:05 remaining in the fourth quarter. The foul would later be classified as a flagrant one. Before that, Gallinari fouled the Knicks’ Reggie Bullock hard. It was clear at that point, the Knicks were sending a message that Game 5 would be physical in nature.

“Gallinari had a dirty play…I can’t let that happen,” Randle said. “I wasn’t trying to hurt him but in this situation…you take a hard foul or whatever, just to let them know we’re not accepting their sh**.”

However, the Knicks have accepted they can’t guard Trae Young. In four games, Young has averaged 28.5 points per game.

The Hawks are looking to close out the Series Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. McMillan believes this will be the toughest game yet for his team.

“I think this game will be the hardest game of the series,’ McMillan explained. “We know they’re going to come and they’re going to fight… I expect it to be physical and I expect both teams to come with urgency.”

Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young dribbles during the second half of an NBA first round playoff game against the New York Knicks in State Farm Arena on Sunday, May 30, 2021. (Photo: Atlanta Hawks)

Itoro Umontuen currently serves as Managing Editor of The Atlanta Voice. Upon his arrival to the historic publication, he served as their Director of Photography. As a mixed-media journalist, Umontuen...

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