Last season, he was spat on, silenced Madison Square Garden with one finger and cemented his place as a pantomime villain forever with the New York Knicks crowd.
The main reason for all the hatred is Trae Young’s ability, and the reason it will exist is that he beat the New York Knicks in the NBA Playoffs and reveled in doing it.
The Atlanta Hawks guard has endured similar treatment from the crowd as he made his way through high school and college so he can translate that experience into making sure he delivers in the big-time.
He did so in the playoffs last year and for the rest of his career now, Young will hear boos reverberating through him inside MSG from his first touchdown. The problem for Knicks fans, though, is whether it can bring out the best in him.
Young showed it again on Tuesday night as he had 45 points and eight assists in his first game at MSG since last season’s Eastern Conference playoff series, leading a comeback. The late mutation brought a 117-111 win for the Atlanta Hawks. Just like last year’s playoffs, Young had the last word.
Continuing where he left off last spring, Young made seven three-pointers, including one that ended the game at 105 with 2:54 to play. He then set up Bogdan Bogdanovic for a three-man lead and followed another De’Andre Hunter by letting Taj Gibson stay behind on his dribble and knocking down a jumper to take the lead. number to 11-0 and make it 113-105 with 1:04 left.
“I think the excitement and what we were able to do on the court tonight and the energy we had in the group chat, I know it’s just us versus everyone tonight,” Young speak. “And I think if we have that mindset in every game, we’ll give ourselves a chance to win.”
Bogdanovic added a season-high 32 for the Hawks, who dropped the Knicks six games behind them to take 10th place in the Eastern Conference, last place in the playing field.
RJ Barrett had 30 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks, who fell 30-42 to regain an eighth loss in the past nine games. The only winning record was when they went 41-31 ahead last season to claim the East’s fourth seed.
The Hawks then beat them in five games in the first round of the knockouts. Young was the star of his first post-season series, ignoring obscene taunts from fans and bowing to the crowd from near midway through the end of Game 5.
Young missed the return trip as he was sidelined for the Christmas game because of NBA health and safety protocols. Fans booed him every time he touched the ball early on Tuesday, though that didn’t last.
“We know the crowd is going to have similar energy to the playoffs and our focus is on playing good basketball tonight, and we’re not talking about New York,” said Hawks coach Nate McMillan. or the playoff series,” said Hawks coach Nate McMillan. “We need to win this game. It’s a much needed win for us and that’s the focus.”
Young received a pre-game hug from film director Spike Lee, and is perhaps the most famous fan of the Knicks, so there’s at least a little love for him inside Madison Square Garden.
“It’s all about respect and love,” Young said. “Every time he hugs me, he tells me it’s all about love. He’s a guy who’s an icon of a fan so it’s great that he knows who I am.”
And do the other fans in the front row talk like that?
“Oh yeah, they always do, don’t they?” Children joke. However, according to Young, this time the crowd was bloodless.
“There were a lot of people there [being] Young said. “Can hear a few more people flirting tonight but definitely not as loud as the playoffs.”
Alec Burks has 21 points for the Knicks, who played without Julius Randle because of quadriceps tendon pain. They took a 10 lead at the start of the fourth half, but the game changed when Young re-entered the game with 7:45 left.
The Knicks took a 34-30 lead after one, a lead that would have been six without Bogdanovic taking the ball out after Barrett’s shot was 0.6 seconds away and hurling it the length of the field to Young, who caught and throw it in. a movement.
“It’s great, it’s a good motivator,” Bogdanovic said, adding that he was a bit surprised himself.
New York stretched it to 12 in seconds before the Hawks took a 9 lead and a 64-58 lead in the first half. Bogdanovic had 15 points and Young 13 in the second half, adding together four more than the Knicks scored.
Young added: “We knew we needed to come here and take care of the business first and that was my first priority.
The win for Atlanta puts them back at .500 out of 36-36, placing them 10th in the Eastern Conference standings.