Atlanta Hawks take 1-0 lead over New York Knicks in first round of NBA playoffs

The Atlanta Hawks defeated the New York Knicks 107-105 Sunday night to take a 1-0 series lead in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

Atlanta had a marvelous start to the game, scoring 24 in the first quarter and building a double-digit early on. It was the franchise’s first playoff game since 2017.

The Knicks came roaring back in the third quarter giving Atlanta all they can handle with a 14-3 run late. New York was able to get their first lead since the first quarter in front of 15,000 roaring fans at Madison Square Garden, their largest crowd of the season. 

Sunday’s game provided runs, and neither team disappointed. It gave sports fans of either team, or those looking for a competitive game, a spectacular show. 

Trae Young silenced critics and was exceptional all night long in his first career playoff game. He posted 32 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists. It was the first time a player recorded 25+ points and 10+ assists in their playoff debut since Derrick Rose in 2009. Young also became the first player to record 30+ points, five rebounds and 10 assists in his playoff debut since LeBron James in 2006. Young capped off his historic night with a game-winner with 0.9 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 18 points, grabbed four rebounds and made four threes; the most critical three tied the game at 103 with 55 seconds left in the fourth. His contributions proved vital for the Hawks picking up the commanding first game. 

Atlanta experienced the highs and lows but managed it all and closed out the Knicks with poise and great defense at the end. Atlanta was excellent on the free throw line, only missing one of their 12 attempts, and took care of the ball with a mere six turnovers (they averaged 12 per game this season). 

Nate McMillan’s team showed the grit and fortitude to close out a tough-nosed Knicks team late while boosting their confidence heading into Wednesday’s Game 2. 

Alec Burks gave the Atlanta defense fits all night with 27 points on 9-13 shooting. He hit big shot after big shot and gave the Knicks momentum throughout the game in one of the biggest games of his 10-year career.

Derrick Rose gave Knicks first-year head coach Tom Thibodeau a veteran presence off the bench with 38 minutes. He scored 17 points, grabbed five rebounds and had five assists. His playoff experience allowed New York to climb back into the game and gave them a chance to win at the end. 

The Knicks supporting cast also thrived with 53 bench points. New York also held a +7 edge on the glass and created offensive opportunities that helped sparked runs, but ultimately Young stepped up in the big moment and led his team to victory. 

If tonight was any indication, it will be a great series ahead between the Knicks and the Hawks. The two teams will meet again on Wednesday when the Knicks host the Hawks for Game 2 at 7:30 p.m. EST.