Trae Young returned to Madison Square Garden for the first time since his dazzling showing in last year’s playoffs to eliminate the New York Knicks. “Ice Trae” continued where he left off, dominating the Knicks with a spectacular and career-high 45-point output. The Atlanta Hawks point guard smoked New York’s defense, shooting 13-25 from the field, including a blistering 7-15 from beyond the arc.
Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal, who covered the Hawks vs Knicks game for the NBA on TNT, cued Young with their hilarious password for good luck. Atlanta’s franchise player gladly obliged O’Neal with an unmistakable bird caw. Although hawks tend to screech rather than caw, it was irrelevant as their signal call worked to perfection.
Here’s Shaquille O’Neal goading Young for their unwritten password:
“Go on, give it to me.”
Before tonight’s win, the Hawks were 0-3 this season against the New York Knicks. Trae Young played in both losses to the Knicks on the Hawks’ home floor before missing out on the MSG clash back in December due to Covid-19. With the All-Star back on the scene of his greatest playoff triumph to date, he reprised his role as the villain Knicks fans love to hate.
Anticipating a rowdy crowd that will go after him, Trae Young responded like he always does when playing inside The Mecca of basketball. New York’s rabid crowd heckled and booed him for most of the night, but it hardly deterred him. As loud as the crowd got, he only had this to say to their efforts:
“I couldn’t really hear them…It wasn’t even that loud.”
Trae Young was out for blood early in the game. He showed his full repertoire of moves, finishing with 21 points in the first half alone. The dizzying display was highlighted by his nasty crossover on Taj Gibson. Gibson embarrassingly fell to the floor in a desperate attempt to stay in front of the two-time All-Star.
Trae Young puts the New York Knicks on the brink of failing to reach the play-in
Trae Young’s clutch performance practically ended the New York Knicks’ chance for a play-in berth. New York, which sits in 12th place, will need a titanic collapse from the 10th-seeded Atlanta Hawks to catch them for the final play-in ticket. Unless the Knicks can run the table and hope for the Hawks to lose half of their remaining games, New York’s season is all but over.
The New York Knicks orchestrated some significant changes following their humiliating playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks last year. This loss could also be the beginning of another series of moves after a hugely disappointing season from the Big Apple team.
Unless the Knicks can change for the better, they will be mercilessly taunted and ridiculed by Ice Trae.