Hawks falter in second half of Game 2 loss to Knicks

Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young, left, tries to get past New York Knicks' Reggie Bullock during the fourth quarter in Game 2 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Wednesday, May 26, 2021, in New York. (Elsa/Pool Photo via AP)

Credit: AP

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Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young, left, tries to get past New York Knicks' Reggie Bullock during the fourth quarter in Game 2 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Wednesday, May 26, 2021, in New York. (Elsa/Pool Photo via AP)

Credit: AP

A poor second-half showing dealt the Hawks a 101-92 Game 2 loss to the Knicks Wednesday in New York. The series is tied 1-1.

ExploreMark Bradley: Hawks let a winnable Game 2 slip away

Next up, Game 3 will be at 7 p.m. Friday in Atlanta (and will be played in front of a near-capacity crowd at State Farm Arena).

Below are some takeaways from the loss:

1. Although the Hawks dominated early and led by 13 at halftime, the Knicks surged in the third quarter as they hit their shooting stride and Julius Randle finally came alive. The Hawks were held to just 35 points in the second half, shooting 27.5% from the field (11-for-40) and 15.8% from 3-point range (3-for-19). Nothing could go right offensively, and the Knicks capitalized. Randle had two points on 0-for-6 shooting and was a minus-17 in the first half, but had 11 points in the third, finishing with a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds (interestingly enough, those stats are identical to his Game 1 performance, but he made more timely shots in Game 2).

“We were one pass and a shot,” interim Hawks coach Nate McMillan said of the shot selection in the second half. “I feel like it was a lot of setting on the perimeter as opposed to attacking. I don’t know if that was because our guys were a little tired, or what, but we weren’t getting to the basket, playing in our third and fourth option, in the second half.”

2. Trae Young and Bogdan Bogdanovic were subbed out with 2:21 left in the third quarter, with the game tied 72-72, and a huge swing took place in their absence. They didn’t come back in the game until the 8:34 mark of the fourth quarter, with the Hawks trailing 88-78. Although the Hawks quickly went on a 9-0 run to make it a one-point game, and were able to tie it with 5:06 left, they failed to make another shot from the field. Both Young and Bogdanovic played about 35 minutes and finished a plus-five, and starting forward De’Andre Hunter played about 32 minutes and was a plus-five. McMillan did say he thought the starters wore down in the second half.

When asked about leaving Young and Bogdanovic on the bench for that stretch, McMillan said: “I tried to get them rest for a few minutes in that fourth quarter, and a three-, four-possession game, with eight, nine minutes to go in the game, should really be enough time for our starters to get back into the game and get control of the game. I was fine with my rotations tonight.”

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Spike Lee, in orange hat, celebrates late in the fourth quarter of Game 2 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series between the Atlanta Hawks and the New York Knicks on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, in New York. (Elsa/Pool Photo via AP)

Credit: AP

Spike Lee, in orange hat, celebrates late in the fourth quarter of Game 2 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series between the Atlanta Hawks and the New York Knicks on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, in New York. (Elsa/Pool Photo via AP)

Credit: AP

caption arrowCaption
Spike Lee, in orange hat, celebrates late in the fourth quarter of Game 2 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series between the Atlanta Hawks and the New York Knicks on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, in New York. (Elsa/Pool Photo via AP)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

3. Derrick Rose played nearly 39 minutes and led the Knicks in scoring with 26 points. He came off the bench in the first half but started the second half, frustrating the Hawks’ defense and carrying the Knicks with 14 first-half points, before shots started falling for other guys.

4. Young became the first player in Hawks history to score 30-plus points in his first two playoff appearances, with 30 points (and seven assists) in Wednesday’s loss and 32 points in Sunday’s win. He did have five turnovers, something the Hawks will need to limit moving forward (registering just six turnovers Sunday helped them take Game 1).

5. It was a quiet scoring night for the Hawks’ frontcourt of power forward John Collins, who couldn’t stay in the game due to foul trouble, and center Clint Capela, who didn’t score until the fourth quarter. Collins was held scoreless, with five fouls in 14 minutes of play, and Capela added four points (2-for-5 field goals), though he was active on defense with 12 rebounds and five blocked shots.

Knicks 101, Hawks 92 (box score)

Stat of the game

13 (for the second game in a row, the Hawks gave up 13 offensive rebounds to the Knicks, allowing them to extend possessions and tally 15 second-chance points to the Hawks’ four)

Star of the game

Rose (has dominated for the Knicks and led them in scoring with 26 points)

Quotable

“... Of course I wanted to stay in there and continue to be in there, but at the same time, I trust (McMillan) and his rotations and we’ve just got to continue to do that and move on.” (Young on not playing during the stretch when the Knicks went up 10)

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