The New Yorks Knicks’ return to the playoffs has been dismal so far as they find themselves in a 3-1 hole as the series heads back to New York.
Star forward Julius Randle has struggled the entire series and has never found his shooting stroke. The struggles haven’t stopped with Randle either as outside of Derrick Rose, the whole team has had problems putting together a complete performance.
On the other hand, Trae Young and the Hawks have been strong in each game, and Young has been putting in consistent performances game in and game out.
After the Hawks victory, Young was asked about the growing frustration from the Knicks team.
“It’s Just Basketball”
It’s not surprising to see playoff basketball played at a higher intensity, but it looks like one team was more ready for it than the other.
In a post-game press conference, Young told reporters that he’s not spending a ton of time focusing on who’s made or not.
“I just be trying to keep it basketball,” he said. “I don’t care if they’re in their feelings or who’s made or who’s not. It’s basketball at the end of the day and we’re just trying to win. All the extra stuff, it is what it is. We’re locked in and we’re focused on us.”
This builds on what Hawks forward John Collins was saying after Game 3 following another tough performance from Julius Randle.
It’s clear that whatever the Hawks are throwing at Randle is clearly working and it will be something the team has to work on or they’ll be going home in the next game.
Young Speaks Out on Taj Gibson
As for his back-and-forth with Knicks forward Taj Gibson, Young said Gibson’s the type of player that’d be great on your team but someone who you’d hate to go against.
“It’s just basketball,” he said. “I don’t know how else to explain. I play with excitement. I play with fun. I don’t talk mess but if you wanna talk mess with me I’m with it. It’s basketball. It’s fun. I love it. Taj is the type of player you don’t want to go up against but you love it when he’s on your team.”
There are plenty of players around the league who fit this type of bill with Pat Beverly and Draymond Green two players who come to mind.
If the Knicks want to avoid going home in five games, they’ll need to find a way to both defend Trae Young better and get Julius Randle going.
The NBA’s Most Improved Player this year has had a very tough first round, and there’s not a lot to indicate it’ll turn around. It was always going to be hard to win a series when your best player is struggling, but when RJ Barrett, Reggie Bullock and others are struggling with him, it’s not a recipe for success.
They will look to bounce back in Game 5 when the series shifts back to New York City. The action kicks off Wednesday, June 2.