The Rundown: Trae Young silences Knicks, Madison Square Garden

Published May 24, 2021, 5:00 PMJon Carlos Rodriguez

Trae Young scored 32 points, including the game-winning floater, to help the Hawks steal Game 1 over the Knicks.


Sixers 125, Wizards 118
Suns 99, Lakers 90
Hawks 107, Knicks 105
Grizzlies 112, Jazz 109

What went down

"If they hate me that much, I’m obviously doing something right. At the end of the day, fans can only talk. They can’t guard me."

These were the words of Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young after putting New York on mute. 

Young made his playoff debut in the basketball Mecca, but didn’t get the warm welcome fit for a star right at tipoff. He responded by scoring/assisting in the Hawks’ first eight points to start Game 1.

The Hawks-Knicks series is seen to be evenly matched, too close to call, and both teams showed why at their first shot at each other. The Hawks and the Knicks exchanged blows from start to finish, neither team giving an inch. 

Which is why it perfectly made sense that with less than 10 seconds left in the game, the game was tied at 105 apiece.

Enter Young, the New York villain before he even did anything. 

With the Knicks defending him at the logo (getting that Steph Curry treatment), Young somehow was able to evade them with a couple of killer crossovers, got the ball to his strong side, and zoomed past to an open lane for a floater. 107-105, with 0.9 seconds left.

Young marched back to the bench to plan for the Hawks’ final defensive stand, but the silence at the arena told him something he gladly accepted: he’s the New York villain now. 

In the Knicks’ final possession, Julius Randle (15 points on 6 of 23 shooting) airballed a fadeaway that wouldn’t have counted anyway. 

"I'm not making no excuses. I gotta be better. And I will be better,” Randle said postgame.

Young’s heroics will be the story of Game 1, as it should be, but the bigger revelation is that when these two teams play at this high level, it will always come down to the final shot. Expect more great moments.

Big-time ballers

This year’s playoffs are trying to tell us something: the future is here. Several young stars are making their playoff debut and instead of giving themselves time to settle in, they absolutely dominated. 

Devin Booker, in his first-ever playoff game, scorched the Los Angeles Lakers with 34 points, the most by any Suns player in a playoff debut.

Dillon Brooks, also playing in his first-ever playoff game, dropped 31 points on the top-seeded Utah Jazz, also the most by any Grizzlies player in a playoff debut.

His teammate Ja Morant chipped in 26 points, just a day after scoring 35 in a do-or-die game against the Golden State Warriors.

What playoff jitters?

What he said

“It got real quiet in there.”

Trae Young was feeling it the entire game and long after he stabbed New York’s heart with the game-winning floater.

Did you see that?

It didn’t feel like it happened in real-time. When RJ Barrett threw down this hammer, the entire Madison Square Garden erupted, 90s-style, with a deafening roar that seemed out of place and out of touch with reality.

For the past year, the Garden had been quiet and toned down, but this Barrett jam was a time machine that both sent us back in time and forward into the future. How was that even possible?