What a weekend for NBA basketball. The playoffs have started with a bang, as every Game 1 matchup delivered and brought us some exciting games and drama. However, one of the best games happened last night in the mecca of basketball, the Madison Square Garden, as the New York Knicks faced the Atlanta Hawks in front of electric 15 000 fans.
The fans in New York were hungry for competitive playoff basketball, and the noise from the jump ball showed how much they missed supporting their team. Unfortunately for Knicks fans, a very competitive game ended with a dagger from Trae Young and the loudest silence possible.
Tom Thibodeau tried to stop Young with Frank Ntilikina, but putting in a cold player that didn’t play the whole game to stop the hottest guy on the other team probably wasn’t the best idea; no matter how good of a defender he is. It was a very symbolic ending to the game, as Spike Lee on the courtside and the other 15 000 fans in the stands were bombing Trae Young with “F**K YOU” chants through the whole game. But after Trae sealed the win for the Hawks, the atmosphere got really quiet, and Young was willing to let the NY crowd know about it after the shot and in the post-game interview on TNT.
The young Hawks team grabbed an important victory in Game 1 and took home-court advantage right from the jump. Trae led the way in a fantastic playoff debut, scoring 32 points alongside 10 assists and 7 rebounds, becoming the second player in NBA history to notch at least 30 points, 10 assists, and 5 rebounds in his playoff debut – the other guy being LeBron James. In the best possible place to have your playoff debut, the MSG, Trae showed no fear of the bright lights and proved he is built for the big stage.
On the other side, the Knicks had their up and downs throughout the game, with their bench carrying them through the game. Alec Burks led them with 27 points, Rose had 17 points, and their star Julius Randle had 15 points and 12 rebounds on some bad shooting efficiency. Still, they put up a great fight and came close to winning the game despite their struggles, so they have no reason to be worried, as they are in for a long series both teams can pull off. So stay tuned because we can expect some more exciting battles between these two teams.