1. Earned in a hostile Madison Square Garden environment, the Hawks officially took the series over the Knicks, needing only five games to do so. They’ve gone from 20-47 last year, too poor a record to qualify for the Orlando bubble, to a spot in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Under interim coach Nate McMillan, who took over March 1, the Hawks continue to show unbelievable turnaround from a 14-20 start to this season, when they were unable to close out games in the fourth quarter. They had zero problems putting this one away, even when the Knicks briefly made it a nine-point game in the fourth quarter.
“They believed that they could do it, and they did it. ... At the beginning of the season, they weren’t finishing games,” McMillan said. “We started to finish games, and tonight, we finished a series, which was an important, big step for this team.”
2. Trae Young completely dominated the Knicks in this series, from his game-winner in the final second of Game 1 to putting up 36 points and nine assists in Game 5. New York simply couldn’t contain Young, and even on night when he wasn’t efficient (10-for-28 field goals, 3-for-11 from 3-point range, 13-for-15 free throws), he could get to whatever shot he wanted. Young had 18 points in the fourth quarter to close out the win. “I think he’s built for this time of the season,” McMillan said of Young. “He’s just fearless out there.”
3. After Clint Capela said on Tuesday that the Knicks aren’t really physical and the Hawks can basically beat them at their own game to send them “on vacation,” he had a lot to back up. He did that resoundingly. As he has done all season long, Capela anchored the defense and finished with a double-double of 14 points and 15 rebounds, adding one steal and two blocks.
4. The Hawks went just 9-for-34 (26.5%) from 3-point range, getting the win even on an off shooting night on the road. They led by five at halftime while tallying fewer 3-pointers than Reggie Bullock himself (Bullock was 4-for-6 at the break; the Hawks were 3-for-17). Overall, the Hawks shot 42.5% from the field to the Knicks’ 37.8% and they held the Knicks to 15 points in the third quarter while they built up their lead. Julius Randle concluded a rough series by leading the Knicks with 23 points (8-for-21 FG, 3-for-9 from 3-point range, 4-for-4 FT) and 13 rebounds for a double-double, with eight turnovers. Derrick Rose had his lowest-scoring game of the series, with six points and five assists.
5. After having horrible injury luck all season, for all five playoff games against the Knicks, the Hawks had only had two players out due to injury/illness: Brandon Goodwin and Cam Reddish. Swept by the Knicks in the regular season, the Hawks finally went up against them with this combination: McMillan at the helm, a healthy Young, a healthy DeAndre Hunter (15 points, three rebounds) and a healthy wing Bogdan Bogdanovic (nine points, seven rebounds, five assists, two steals). A fully loaded Hawks roster overwhelmed the Knicks, and it wasn’t particularly close. This series showcased the Hawks’ capabilities when healthy, per Young: “You see what we can do when we have everybody out here.”
Stat of the game
16 (the Knicks had 16 turnovers, compared to the Hawks’ 11, with the Hawks scoring 18 points off those)
Star of the game
Young (rounded out his domination in the series with a game-high 36 points and nine assists)
“I know where we are. I know there’s a bunch of shows around this city, and I know what they do when the show is over.” (Young on taking a bow after his final 3-pointer of the game, which he shot from the logo on the court)