Hawks take Game four over Knicks 113-96 at home, extend series lead 3-1

In front of over 16,000 fans, the Atlanta Hawks defeated the New York Knicks 113-96 in game three of their eastern conference first-round playoff series.

The win extends their home win streak to an NBA-best 13 games, with their last loss at State Farm Arena coming to the Milwaukee Bucks on April 18.

Trae Young finished with 29 points and nine assists, adding to a historic first playoff series for the third-year star. He’s just the fourth player in NBA history to average at least 25 points and 10 assists in his first four career playoff games, joining Stephen Curry, Kevin Johnson and Oscar Robertson as the only ot.

However, it seemed that the Knicks often tried to get into Young’s head, going back to the first two games at Madison Square Garden. He talked about New York’s players trying to frustrate him.

“I [just try] to keep it basketball. I don’t care if they’re in their feelings or who’s mad or who’s not. It’s basketball at the end of the day and we’re just trying to win,” Young said. “All the extra stuff, it is what it is. We’re locked in, and we’re focused on us, and we’re trying to win a game.”

John Collins entered the postgame press conference singing loudly after a 22 point-eight rebound effort. He had to get four stitches to his lacerated upper lip in the middle of the game. He’s often had the task of guarding Julius Randle, the NBA’s Most Improved Player, in a physical first four games of the series. Collins talked about the frustration Atlanta has brought to the Knicks’ faces, especially after New York’s surprising season anchored by physical play.

“You play a team so many times, things are going to happen. I feel like, at the end, guys aren’t really going to like each other too much, on top of the fact that New York plays a physical style of basketball,” Collins said. “Obviously, we’re going to get tired of getting pushed around and hit, so it is what it is in a sense. Guys are competing, and it’s playoff basketball.”

Danilo Gallinari pitched in 21 points in 25 minutes off the bench––his best game of the series so far. Following a rough 6.5 points per game on 28% shooting from the field in games one and two on the road, the 12-year veteran looked like his old self over the last two games.

“I thought the first two games, I was relying too much on my three-point shot, and I wasn’t reading the defense the way that I should read it,” Gallinari said. “I’m just going to be a little more aggressive going into the paint.”

Three more players scored in double-figures for the Hawks. Bogdan Bogdanovic had 12 points, Kevin Huerter finished 11 and Clint Capela contributed 10 points and 15 rebounds.

However, Nate McMillan is reminding his team that there’s more work to do. After the game, the Hawks head coach labeled Wednesday’s game five as the most challenging game of the series.

“It’s do or die for New York––they know that, we know that––and they’re going to come out with their best effort. We’re going to have to come with our best in order to end this,” McMillan said. “Until our guys get into the Garden and experience the energy that’s going to be there, we’ll have to adapt and adjust then.”

The Hawks used a 35-point third quarter to extend a four-point halftime lead to catapult their lead 88-71 at the end of the third quarter. Young pointed to the team’s pace as the deciding factor of the afternoon.

“The way we played, how fast we played and just pushing the ball. Shots were going, and really just finding that open man, and that man would knock it down tonight,” Young said. 

On the visiting side, Randle led the way with 23 points, ten rebounds and seven assists. RJ Barrett scored 21 points with six rebounds and four assists and Derrick Rose followed with 18 points and six assists.

Game five from Madison Square Garden will tip-off at 7:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday as the Hawks look to advance past the first round for the first time since the 2015-16 season.