Introducing the newest Madison Square Garden playoff villain: Trae Young.
The Atlanta Hawks point guard marked his playoff debut with a signature performance, burying the game-winning floater with 0.9 seconds remaining to give his team a 107-105 win, silencing the 15,000 strong New York crowd.
And didn't he let them know all about it.
TIME WINDING DOWN.- NBA (@NBA) May 24, 2021
TRAE YOUNG FLOATS IT UP.@ATLHawks WIN GAME 1.#TrueToAtlanta #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/hlaSHajFQo
With boos raining down from the home crowd, Young did his best Reggie Miller impersonation, barking back at the MSG crowd, with Spike Lee watching on.
"We're in the Mecca, we're in New York City, Times Square, ain't no bigger stage, so it's fun, fun playoffs," Young said in his on court post-game interview.
"I think it when you're in the zone and everybody chanting F U, it got real quiet at the end and for me, I wanted to hear those F U chants again."
"It got real quiet at the end..."- NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 24, 2021
-@TheTraeYoung joins the TNT crew after his game-winner in MSG. #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/MQY3hP9yNo
Young powered the Hawks to a 1-0 series lead, snatching home-court advantage, with 32 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds 11-of-23 from the field and a perfect 9-of-9 from the free-throw line.
The 22-year-old put his name alongside some elite company, joining LeBron James the only other player in NBA history to record 30 points, 10 assists and five rebounds in his playoff debut and the first player since Derrick Rose (2009) to drop 25 points and 10 assists in their playoff debut.
Trae Young is the 2nd player in NBA history with 30 points, 10 assists and 5 rebounds in his postseason debut. LeBron James is the other. pic.twitter.com/reENWRuhG7- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 24, 2021
The New York crowd didn't hold back, but for Young he relished the experience, quieting the raucous home crowd.
"I've always looked at it like I'm doing something right, if I'm affecting them with my play that much," Young said post-game. "If they hate me that much I'm obviously doing something right and just gotta let my play do the talking.
"At the end of the day fans can only talk, they can't guard me, they're not out there playing so for me it's just a part of the game.
"I'm glad fans are back, I'm glad MSG was rocking tonight, I'm glad everybody got to come in and experience the game back, so it's good."
"Next one."🤫🤫- Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) May 24, 2021
With Young embracing the role of New York's latest enemy and the stands nearly back to full capacity, tonight's game was a timely reminder of just how fun playoff basketball in the Garden is.
The Hawks will look to take a 2-0 series lead when they square off against the Knicks in Game 2 on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. E.T.
Get your popcorn ready!
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