Following the heartbreaking loss by the Knicks in Game 1 of the NBA Playoffs, the team will look to bounce back against the Hawks and even the series up before it shifts to Atlanta.
Before Game 2, New York City Bill de Blasio had a strong message for the Hawks and called out young star Trae Young in the process.
Young has been criticized for his on-court antics in the past, notably being called out by Brooklyn Nets coach Steve Nash earlier in the season.
De Blasio had a similar message for the Hawks guard who hit the game-winning shot in Game 1.
“Play the Game the Right Way”
In a press conference, the New York City mayor made sure he had enough time to send a stern warning to the Hawks ahead of Game 2.
“I have an important, official announcement…” the mayor started. “Stop hunting for fouls, Trae.”
He then references the moment earlier in the year where Nash called out Young for the same thing, but it didn’t stop there.
“Trae, Trae, that hawk’s not gonna fly in New York City,” he continued. “Come on, play the game the right way. See if you can win. I think the Knicks are gonna have to teach you a lesson.”
Considering this is coming from the mayor of the biggest city in the country, there’s little chance that Young won’t get this message before Wednesday’s game. Whether it’ll cause him to mix up his playstyle remains to be seen.
He had a very strong performance in Game 1 and unless the Knicks are able to make some adjustments, perhaps playing Frank Ntilikina more, then there’s little reason to suspect that won’t continue throughout the series.
How Do the Knicks Tie the Series?
The first thing the Knicks will need in order to tie the series at 1-1 as they head to Atlanta is get a better performance out of All-Star Julius Randle.
While he did put up a double-double, he shot just 6 for 23 from the floor, which just won’t cut it if the team wants to win the series.
The game ended up being a lot closer due to the strong performances from Derrick Rose and Alec Burks off the bench.
Burks’ performance in particular caught the eye of players across the league, including Luka Doncic, who called the Knicks guard underrated.
If those performances continue and Randle has a more consistent game, then it’s easy to imagine a world where the series is tied back up.
Of course, the Knicks will have to win a game in Atlanta if they want the opportunity to reclaim home court after losing it in Game 1.
With fans back in the stands, there’s no reason to expect Madison Square Garden to not be rocking as hard as it was on Sunday, but the Knicks are still relying on the fans to come out.
Game 2 tips off Wednesday, May 26 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Games 3 and 4 will be in Atlanta before the series shifts back to New York.