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The Atlanta Hawks lost to the New York Knicks in overtime on Wednesday night, by a final score of 137-127. In a pivotal game for seeding in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, New York secured its third win in three tries this season versus Atlanta. The Hawks now find themselves in fifth place, a half-game behind New York for fourth place and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Not only did the Hawks lose the game, but they lost a star in doing so. Guard Trae Young went down with a rolled ankle late in the third quarter, after putting up 20 points, 14 assists, and just one turnover. He did not return to the game, but the severity of the injury is unknown at this point. The Hawks were up by 8 points before their floor general was injured and, unfortunately, could not manage to hold on.
To start this one, the Hawks were forcing turnovers left and right, pushing the ball in transition, and dominating the Knicks inside. New York finished with 17 turnovers to Atlanta’s 10, and Atlanta won the transition battle by eight points. The Hawks ended the matchup with 64 points in the paint to the Knicks’ 52. With 11 more field goal attempts, in combination with advantages in the previously mentioned departments, one would think that the Hawks would have had a relatively easy win. The great equalizer for New York, however, was the three-point shot. The Knicks went 19-35 from a deep, a ridiculous clip, which can easily make up for poor play in other facets of the game. The seven more threes that the Knicks made than the Hawks were just too much to handle, especially without Trae Young on the floor down the stretch.
The Knicks were led by Julius Randle, who, as he has in all three matchups this year, went crazy offensively. When it was all said and done, he had 40 points on 6-8 from three-point land and added 11 boards and six dimes. Reggie Bullock also knocked down six deep balls, while Immanuel Quickley threw in four. Before fouling out, the Hawks had trouble stopping Derrick Rose, who added 20 points of his own.
Guards like Rose having success has been an issue this year for the Hawks with the number of injuries in the backcourt, but luckily Clint Capela is often inside to clean up the mess made in front of him. Tonight was no different. Capela had 22 rebounds to go with his 25 points, and although he only blocked one shot, he affected several others. Even with this dominant performance, Clint did have an injury scare of his own, falling very hard on his back after getting his foot tangled up inside. Luckily, he was able to stay in the ballgame, so hopefully he will not miss time going forward. Elsewhere for the Hawks, Kevin Huerter had 17 points, John Collins had 18, and Bogdan Bogdanovic got going late in the game and finished with 20 points. His three-point shot with 6.9 seconds remaining in regulation tied it up, giving the Hawks a chance to win the game.
Although Atlanta led most of the contest, they couldn’t get it done when it mattered most. An overtime loss is tough to swallow, especially with how well this team has finished games under Nate McMillan. The Hawks still looked like they belonged in a playoff-type game against New York. With just 13 contests left, more and more games will have this postseason feel, and it is important for this team with many young players to know what it is like to play in these big games before the playoffs begin. If Trae Young can return soon, along with the host of other players currently out injured, this team could really make some noise in those 13 games and maybe even beyond.