Sunday's NBA playoffs: Young hits runner with 0.9 left to lift Hawks past Knicks
New York — A crowd that waited eight years to see another Knicks playoff game needed just minutes to make Trae Young its target.
Young heard the fans' hate. Then he silenced them.
“I've always looked at it that I'm doing something right if I'm affecting them with my play that much that they hate me that much," he said. "I'm obviously doing something right and just got to let my play do the talking.”
Young made a runner in the lane with 0.9 seconds left to give the Atlanta Hawks a 107-105 victory over New York on Sunday night in a thrilling postseason return for both teams.
Young finished with 32 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. He frustrated the Knicks with his ability to draw fouls and made all nine free throws when he did.
He looked like Reggie Miller in the 1990s, feeding off a New York crowd — featuring a rowdy Spike Lee, just like those days — that cursed his name repeatedly when he made a shot or drew a foul.
“He’s small but he’s a tough kid and he’s not afraid,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said.
Many in the loud crowd of more than 15,000 jeered Young throughout the night but he got the final word when he drove right through the Knicks' defense and floated in his shot from right of the basket, then put his fingers to his lips to tell the crowd to quiet down.
“This is a coming-out party for him and he’s ready to do it,” teammate Lou Williams said.
Bogdan Bogdanovic added 18 points for the Hawks in their first postseason game since 2017.
Alec Burks scored 27 points for the Knicks, who are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2013. Derrick Rose scored 17 points, but Julius Randle shot just 6 for 23 while finishing with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
The Knicks host Game 2 on Wednesday night, when Randle will try to bounce back. He had two 40-point games against Atlanta this season.
“Got a game, got to feel it out a little bit and I’ll adjust,” the All-Star said.
Neither team led by more than six points in a fourth quarter during which the teams took turns regaining and then losing momentum. Young made a pair of free throws for a 105-103 lead with 28 seconds left after the Knicks unsuccessfully challenged the call, and Rose tied it with a basket with 9.8 seconds to go.
Young then brought the ball up and was supposed to get a screen from John Collins. But Collins' sneaker fell off so Young waved him off and handled things himself.
New York hadn't hosted a playoff game in eight years and hadn't hosted many fans all season, with its largest crowd during the regular season 1,981.
So the 15,047 the Knicks announced Sunday sounded deafening at times, particularly when RJ Barrett slammed it over Bogdanovic to forge a 63-all tie with 5:19 left in the third, with fans chanting his name during Atlanta's ensuing timeout.
The Knicks were able to increase seating capacity with the addition of sections for fully vaccinated fans, announcing during the week that Games 1 and 2 had both sold out and would be the largest indoor events in New York since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Random chants and cheers broke out even before players took the court for their final warmups, and the Knicks were greeted by a standing ovation when they emerged with about 15 minutes to go before the start.
But the Knicks couldn't give the fans much to cheer once the game started. Atlanta jumped to a 17-7 lead as the Knicks missed 14 of their first 17 shots.
“Having fans I think is great,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said, “but we’ve got to play better.”
More NBA playoffs
Suns 99, Lakers 90: Devin Booker scored 34 points, Deandre Ayton had 21 points and 16 rebounds and the Phoenix Suns won their first playoff game in 11 years, beating the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers 99-90 on Sunday.
It was the first playoff game for several Suns players, including Booker, Ayton and Mikal Bridges, but they didn’t look like postseason rookies against LeBron James and the Lakers. They helped Phoenix offset a tough game for veteran All-Star point guard Chris Paul, who didn’t look healthy after a right shoulder injury in the second quarter.
The Suns led 86-70 early in the fourth, but the Lakers quickly cut it to 86-77 with 9:02 left.
That’s about the time things got a little rowdy. L.A.‘s Alex Caruso and Phoenix’s Cameron Payne got into an altercation near the sideline after Payne knocked Caruso to the ground. L.A.’s Montrezl Harrell jumped into the fray and both teams had to be separated. Caruso and Harrell were each given a technical foul, and Payne was given two technicals and ejected.
But Booker kept making shots and Ayton was a force on the glass, finishing with eight offense rebounds and shooting 10 of 11 from the field. The Lakers never got within striking distance in the final minutes.
James finished with 18 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. Anthony Davis shot just 5 of 16 from the field and had 13 points. The Lakers shot 7 of 26 (27%) from 3-point range.
Game 2 is Tuesday night in Phoenix.
76ers 125, Wizards 118: Tobias Harris picked a pair of Philadelphia's deep reserves to knock him around and toughen his game on the low post. The trio talked smack, and their post-practice workout sessions resembled a kind of bully ball for most of the last three months, all so Harris was better equipped for the postseason grind.
“I know the people who watch, the people who see, my teammates, they respect that,” Harris said.
And the payoff?
“You have a night like this,” Harris said.
Harris showed why top-seeded Philadelphia might have its own Big 3 worthy of winning a championship. He scored 37 points, carrying Philadelphia’s offense when it sagged early, and the 76ers survived the sub.-500 Washington Wizards in a 125-118 Game 1 victory on Sunday.
Grizzlies 112, Jazz 109: Dillon Brooks had 31 points and seven rebounds and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Utah Jazz 112-109 Sunday night in the opening game of their first-round playoff series.
The eighth-seeded Grizzlies put the Western Conference top-seeded Jazz in an early hole. Game 2 of the series in Wednesday night.
Brooks set a single-game franchise scoring record for a Memphis player making their NBA playoff debut, surpassing the 24 points scored by Marc Gasol against San Antonio on April 17, 2011.
Ja Morant added 26 points. Jonas Valanciunas chipped in 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Kyle Anderson added 14 points.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 20 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Jazz. Mike Conley had 22 points, 11 assists, and six rebounds. Rudy Gobert added 15 rebounds and 11 points, and Derrick Favors finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds.