Reggie Miller. Chase Utley. And now Trae Young. New York sports fans thrive when they have an opposing player to hate on. Reggie Miller gave Spike Lee the choke sign, Chase Utley broke Ruben Tejada’s leg in the playoffs, and Trae Young shushed the Garden crowd after scoring the go ahead basket in Game 1 on Sunday night. How did we get here? Let’s break it down.
The Garden was Buzzin
It was certainly a playoff atmosphere at the Garden on Sunday night. When the Knicks are good, they run New York. It does not matter how good the Rangers are, how good the Mets are, or even how good the Yankees are. The Knicks run New York and it showed on Sunday night. A sold out crowd of 15,000 fans had the Garden buzzing. It had been 8 year since the last time the Knicks played a playoff game, and the fans showed up ready. A crowd of 15,000 blew the roof off after this sequence from RJ Barrett:
That was the loudest the Garden had been since the Rangers were in the Cup Finals in 2014. The Knicks are back the fans are ready to let the world know.
Back and Forth Game
Neither team really had that big of an advantage in game 1. Julius Randle struggled for much of the game, but his teammates helped to pick up his slack. Alec Burks and Derrick Rose led the way for the Knicks with 27 and 15 respectively. New villain, Trae Young, led all scorers with 3 points. He did it in ugly fashion, shooting 11-23 from the field and 1-3 from deep. However, he was able to make it count when the Hawks needed it most.
Frank Ntilikina was subbed into the game for the sole purpose of guarding Trae Young. Ntilikina, who is a very good defender, gave Young just enough space to get a shot off and it rolled in with under a second to play.
Trae Young plays a very ugly style of basketball in my opinion. He chucks up shots left and right with little regard for where the ball is going. There is no doubt he is a good scorer, but it takes him 23 shot attempts to get those scoring numbers. He is also notorious for trying to hunt for fouls. He throws his body into defenders, initiating contact, trying to trick the refs into calling a foul on the defender. His actions have even got the attention of Mayor Bill de Blasio. The shushing the crowd is simply the icing on the cake. Trae Young better be ready for the reaction he receives on Wednesday night. Knicks fans have united in hating this guy, and that has been known to rattle even the toughest of competitors.
Knicks in 6 is still very much in the realm of possibilities. Their best player had an off night and Randle won’t let that happen again. Elfrid Payton is finally seeing his minutes get heavily reduced in favor of more Burks, Rose, and Immanuel Quickley. What took Tom Thibodeau this long, I am not sure, but at least it is happening now. Game 2 is scheduled for this Wednesday. The Garden will be buzzin once again, and Trae Young better be ready for what comes his way.
-Pete Chatterton (@Pchat12)
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