The New York Knicks have won eight straight games and now hold sole possession of the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference.
The remarkable run from the Knicks has the limited crowd at Madison Square Garden in raptures and leaves the franchise in the box seat for it's first postseason appearance since 2013.
It took an extra five minutes to shake off the Atlanta Hawks, with the home team eventually pulling out the 137-127 win behind some hot shooting in overtime.
Wild finish to regulation
All-Star Julius Randle appeared to ice the game for the Knicks in regulation, bulldozing John Collins on his way to the basket for a 122-119 lead with 8.4 seconds remaining.
BULLY BALL pic.twitter.com/oCGjKt06CO- NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) April 22, 2021
Then, the immediate response came from Atlanta, with Bogdan Bogdanovic finding space, burying a catch-and-shoot triple from the left corner with 6.2 seconds left.
CLUTCH. pic.twitter.com/20FwfM4J4U- Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) April 22, 2021
Of course, the ball then went back to Randle, who missed a very difficult fadeaway jumper from the left corner and the game went to overtime.
All this occured after the Hawks held an eight point lead early in the fourth, only for the Knicks to open up a seven point lead of their own in the final minutes. It was a wild affair at MSG.
Randle's ridiculous season continues
"New York, we here!"
That's how Randle signed off on his postgame interview at MSG, sending the adoring crowd crazy.
It's not surprising that the 26-year-old has become a hero in New York, with the All-Star delivering yet another astonishing performance. Finishing with 40 points, 11 rebounds and six assists, Randle was unstoppable inside and out against the Hawks.
Overall, he finished 11-for-21 from the field and a scorching hot 6-for-8 from beyond the arc, as his long range game continues to be one of the biggest storylines of the Knicks' season.
Randle is now up to 41 percent from three, absolutely destroying his previous career-high mark of 34.4 percent in 2019 with the New Orleans Pelicans. Last year with the Knicks, he managed to hit just 27.7 percent of his 3-point attempts. Connecting on 127 shots from three this season, Randle has blown his previous season-best of 67 out of the way. Incredible.
💪 40 PTS, 11 REB, 6 AST- NBA (@NBA) April 22, 2021
💪 8th consecutive victory
💪 NYK moves into 4th in East
Julius Randle lifts the @nyknicks in OT! pic.twitter.com/nfUc4aFoHY
Trae Young leaves game with ankle injury
A scary moment occured for Atlanta with 1:13 remaining in the third quarter, with star guard Trae Young being helped from the floor after an ankle injury.
Landing awkwardly on his left leg on a shot attempt, Young rolled the ankle severely and fell to the floor in significant pain.
The 22-year-old would eventually be helped from the floor, heading back to the locker room for further evaluation. At the time of the injury the Hawks led 95-87.
Young would not return and finished the night with 20 points, 14 assists and four steals in 29 minutes.
Trae Young was in pain after an awkward landing on his ankle- Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 22, 2021
Hope he's okay 🙏 pic.twitter.com/l7YToTYMxT
Knicks stay hot from the outside
We already mentioned Randle's outside blitz, but it wasn't just limited to one player, as an all out barrage from beyond the arc sparked the squad.
New York finished the night 19-for-35 from deep, with Reggie Bullock (6-for-11) and Immanuel Quickley (4-for-6) doing serious damage.
Capela stuffs box score once again
Hawks' big man Clint Capela has been on absolute tear of late, seemingly putting up extraordinary numbers each time he hits the floor. Tonight was no different, with the centre tallying 25 points and 22 rebounds to go along with two steals and a block.
It was the fifth 20-rebound game of the season for Capela, and the third time this season he has put together a 20-20 game. The huge night adds to his league-leading average of 14.5 boards per game.
Big fella eating early 🍽️ pic.twitter.com/5QSL1uvvQs- Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) April 22, 2021
Capela was able to finish out the game after a scary moment in the fourth quarter when he slipped on the foot of Derrick Rose and landed flat on his back. Staying on the floor for several minutes, Capela was in significant pain holding his tailbone area, but appeared okay by the end of the game.
What it means and what's next?
If the season were to end tonight, the Knicks and Hawks would be facing each other in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Knicks are half a game ahead of the Hawks for the fourth seed in the Conference.
The Hawks will have one night off before hosting the Miami Heat, while the Knicks will enjoy a rare two night break before the Raptors visit Madison Square Garden with the Knicks looking to make it nine in a row.
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