With less than a second remaining, Trae Young put his finger to his lips and motioned to the packed house in the garden that he couldn’t hear them yelling at him anymore.
“I wanted to hear those FU chants again,” Young said immediately after the game on TNT.
In the classic mold of the playoff villains of Reggie Miller or Michael Jordan, the early Atlanta All-Star playmaker scored 13 of his game-high 32 points in the fourth quarter, punctuated by a decisive draw. and heartbreaking with 0.9 seconds remaining to lift the Hawks. to a 107-105 win over the Knicks in Game 1.
“I always watched as I was doing something right,” Young said during his post-game Zoom call of the fans. “If I offend them with my game that they hate me so much, I’m obviously doing something right.
“I just have to let my room do the talking. At the end of the day, fans can only speak. They can’t keep me. They don’t play there.
Young, the third-year Oklahoma goaltender, became both a clutch artist and a road villain in the first postseason game of his career, surpassing the Knicks two rising stars Julius Randle and RJ Barrett – who shot a 12-to-39 combined on their playoff debut – and faced his team for a Game 1 win in his first attempt playing on the NBA’s brightest stage.
“I’m glad the fans are back, MSG was booming tonight, and I’m glad everyone got to experience it,” Young said. “I really know the story of the players who come here who are hated, and I take that as a compliment, to be honest with you.
“I’m obviously doing something right if you hate me that much. I accept it and focus on helping my team to achieve victory. At the end of the day, we’ll have the final say, if we do that.
Knicks guard Derrick Rose tied the score on a runner 10.2 seconds left, and Hawks coach Nate McMillan called a time out. His veteran teammate Lou Williams said he begged Young not to let the last shot go by.
“It’s an out party for him,” Williams said. “And he’s ready to do it. … What a place to have your first playoff game, at Madison Square Garden. “
The Knicks replaced defensive specialist Frank Ntilikina to keep Young, and the Hawks star circled around him on the right side of the lane and picked up the ball with less than a second remaining before waving to fans for it. earlier taunted to be silent,
“It’s a big hit with the game on the line,” said McMillan. “He’s fearless. We know he’s tough. He’s small but he’s a tough kid and he’s not afraid to take this photo. He did and won us the first game. ”