The Hawks (32-27) forced overtime, but without Trae Young, lost steam in overtime of their 137-127 loss to the Knicks (33-27) on Wednesday.
Next up, the Hawks host the Heat on Friday.
Below are some takeaways from the loss:
1. More bad injury luck came for the Hawks, just as they were hoping to get healthy and make a playoff push in the final stretch of the regular season. In the third quarter, Trae Young went down with a left ankle sprain with the Hawks up 95-87, and he wasn’t able to return to the game. X-Rays for Young’s ankle were negative, interim coach Nate McMillan said, and Young will get an MRI Thursday in Atlanta. Per center Clint Capela, Young told Capela that the sprain wasn’t as bad as he thought. Before departing, Young had 20 points, 14 assists and four steals.
2. Julius Randle is having a monster season and is one of the reasons the Knicks are having such success, both overall and specifically against the Hawks. He had 44 points in the Knicks’ win vs. the Hawks Feb. 15, had 28 points in their win Jan. 4 and had a game-high 40 points Wednesday, making six of eight 3-pointers. Randle also added six assists and 11 rebounds for a double-double. The Hawks are 0-3 vs. the Knicks this season.
3. Without Young in the game, the Knicks stormed back and worked up to a seven-point lead with 4:46 to play in the fourth (it seemed the night was about to get even worse for the Hawks, as Capela came down hard on his tailbone/lower back, but he was able to continue playing, though his back was sore and after the game he mentioned it was hard to walk). But the Hawks answered with four quick points from Bogdan Bogdanovic and a 3-pointer from John Collins tied it up, 118-118, with 2:11 to play. Randle put the Knicks back in the lead, 122-119, with 8.4 seconds left, but Bogdanovic hit a corner 3 to even it up again, and the Hawks shut down Randle on the final play of regulation, sending the game to overtime. Bogdanovic finished with 20 points, six rebounds and four assists, Collins added 18 points and Capela added 25 points and 22 rebounds.
4. In overtime, the Hawks seemed to run out of steam, with Young out and Capela banged up, too. They were outscored 15-5 and never seemed to find a rhythm. It was a disappointing end, considering how they were humming along before Young’s injury, which in the grand scheme of things could affect them much more than one loss to New York, depending on the severity. Still, McMillan was proud of how the Hawks battled to force overtime, despite the circumstances:
“I saw a lot of fight in this team,” McMillan said. “They continue to scrap. We’ve got a lot of injuries, we went down in that game, and to lose Trae, and to just lose another player could have been really devastating in the sense of the energy, but these guys, coming off a back-to-back, we knew this was going to be a playoff atmosphere, they brought it. I thought they gave us all they had. We were able to get the game into overtime, but just didn’t have enough in that overtime to win this game.”
5. In recent years, these aren’t the teams you picture battling for position in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. But, that was the case Wednesday, in a race with a jam-packed middle of the standings. With the win, the Knicks claimed the No. 4 spot in the standings, and the Hawks fell to No. 5.
Stat of the game
54.3% (or 19-for-35, what the Knicks shot from 3-point range, compared to the Hawks’ 35.3%, or 12-for-34)
Star of the game
Randle (continues to dominate the Hawks with a game-high 40 points, plus 11 rebounds and six assists)
“I felt like, if I could walk, I can shoot free throws. I wanted to finish the game, be with the guys, fight through it.” (Capela on staying in the game after falling on his back)