Game 1 ended in heartbreaking fashion for the Knicks, courtesy of Trae Young's clutch game-winner. In the first half of Game 2, they seem to have still been dealing with that shock.
However, the second half was a different story and the Knicks, sparked by Julius Randle's revival in the third quarter, putting together a big 30-8 run in the second half and then held on to clinch the contest 101-92.
Trae Young was the game's top scorer with 30 but the Hawks drought on offence in the second half didn't help their cause. For the hosts, Derrick Rose led the scoring charts with 26 points and was one of five to score in double digits.
As the series shifts to Atlanta for Games 3 and 4, here are the biggest takeaways from this one, the Knicks first playoff victory since 2013:
Rose keeps Knicks in it early
In a slow first half, where they trailed 57-44, Derrick Rose was the only player that had it going as he finished with 14 points in just 19 minutes. It was his production in the first half that allowed it to only be a 13-point game and not much more.
Shaking & baking- NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) May 27, 2021
Slicing & dicing
Rising & surprising pic.twitter.com/bfa87HSHJ8
Struggling to land some punches, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau put out Rose as part of the starting line-up in the second half and the 13-year veteran played all of the pivotal third quarter.
He eventually played 39 minutes to finish with 26 points, four rebounds, and four assists while only turning it over once while recording a plus-minus of +12. This was his first 25-point playoff game since 2015.
Randle revival sparks Knicks comeback
Coming off a 15-point Game 1 where he shot 6-of-23 from the field, Randle didn't have a lot going for him in Game 2 other than a short spark in the third quarter but that was all the Knicks needed.
The newly-named Most Improved Player of the Year, coming off a two-point first half, scored (11) or assisted on 14 of the team's 32 third-quarter points as they outscored the Hawks by 14 to make this a contest once again.
STRONG TAKE JU pic.twitter.com/16DDD8d8WV- NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) May 27, 2021
His final numbers for the game of 15 points, 12 rebounds and four assists still don't look great, given the high standards he set for himself during the season, but his second-half combined with the Game 2 result will give the Knicks faithful hope of a competitive series.
Jules puts it up... PUTS IT IN! pic.twitter.com/0keFh65UKk- NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) May 27, 2021
No answer for Trae Young?
Despite Hawks' struggles on offence in the second half, where they shot 11-of-40 from the field and 3-of-19 from beyond the arc, Trae Young - the star of Game 1 - still had a decent game after halftime.
He scored 10 of his 30 and dished out three of his seven assists in the second half but had limited support. It was his explosive second quarter that had the Hawks leading by double-digits in the first half.
Too much space‼️ pic.twitter.com/UTixZ7RIRU- Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) May 27, 2021
FILTHY. pic.twitter.com/n1a8mwWowx- Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) May 27, 2021
He scored 15 of his 20 first-half points in the second quarter and together with Bogdan Bogdanovic combined for 23 of the team's 30 points in the period. So, while the Knicks did play a higher level of defence to stifle the Hawks in the second half, they are yet to find a tactic to slow down Young.
Both teams have just the day off before going right at it as the series shifts to Atlanta with Game 3 tipping off on Friday, May 28 at 7:00 p.m. ET.
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