Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young contributed 21 points and 14 assists to their Game 3 victory over the New York Knicks. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
- The Atlanta Hawks are 5-point home favorites over the New York Knicks in Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference opening-round playoff series on Sunday, May 30th
- Atlanta leads the best-of-seven series 2-1
- The Knicks are 4-2 straight up in their last six games at Atlanta
It wouldn’t be accurate to call Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Hawks as a must-win game for the New York Knicks. However, it’s about close to that scenario as could be.
Down 2-1 to the Hawks in the best-of-seven NBA Eastern Conference first-round playoff series and with Game 4 in Atlanta, the Knicks aren’t exactly in a position of strength. However, should they lose Game 4 on Sunday, they will find themselves in a position of desperation.
There have been 28 NBA teams to fall behind 3-1 in a playoff series. Only seven have managed to rally and win the set. That’s a 25% success rate, or a one-in-four chance.
Oddsmakers aren’t exactly in New York’s corner on this one. Atlanta has been established as 5-point home favorites in Game 4. The Knicks are an impressive 17-10 against the spread as a road underdog this season.
Knicks vs Hawks Game 4 Odds
|Player||Moneyline||Spread at DraftKings||Total|
|New York Knicks||+160||+5.0 (-114)||O 208.5 (-112)|
|Atlanta Hawks||-190||-5.0 (-107)||U 208.5 (-109)|
Odds as of May 29th
Tipoff on Sunday is set for 1:10pm ET at State Farm Arena. ABC is carrying the broadcast.
The Knicks remain without center Mitchell Robinson. He’s recovering from surgery on his right foot and there’s no timetable for his return. Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau indicated that the plan was to proceed slowly with Robinson, so don’t expect to see him before the end of this round.
Taj Gibson started at center for New York in Game 3. Nerlens Noel tweaked his ankle in Game 2 and played 22 minutes in Game 3.
Nerlens Noel is available. Injured his ankle in Game 1 – Thibodeau said, “I think at this stage of the season most guys are nicked up. And we want Nerlens to be Nerlens. … He got nicked up a little bit but I think he’s feeling a lot better
— Steve Popper (@StevePopper) May 28, 2021
Hawks point guard Brandon Goodwin is out for the season due to a minor respiratory condition that requires treatment.
Atlanta SF Cam Reddish (Achilles) has been cleared to start unrestricted individual workouts and limited participation in team practices. But it will be 10-14 days before his status is reviewed, so he won’t be participating in this series.
Knicks vs Hawks Projected Lineups
|Derrick Rose||PG||Trae Young|
|RJ Barrett||SG||Bogdan Bogdanovic|
|Reggie Bullock||SF||De’Andre Hunter|
|Julius Randle||PF||John Collins|
|Taj Gibson||C||Clint Capela|
Young At Heart
After squandering a 57-44 halftime lead and losing Game 2 by a 101-92 count, the Hawks came back strongly to win Game 3. And they did so from long range during their decisive 105-94 victory.
Atlanta shot 59.3% (16-for-27 from beyond the arc. The Hawks used a 22-5 run during the second quarter to gain control of the game and Trae Young was the one pacing that onslaught.
Young, who hit the game-winning basket in Game 1, finished Game 3 with 21 points and 14 assists. He figured in 18 of the 22 points during that 22-5 run.
The Hawks led 58-44 at the half. New York was never able to narrow the deficit to single digits the remainder of the game.
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Randle Must Get A Handle
Young, Atlanta’s best player, is living up to that billing in this series. Knicks power forward Julius Randle has been mostly a bust in his first taste of the NBA playoffs. The Hawks are stifling his effectiveness with different defensive looks and by throwing a variety of defenders at him.
Randle was a dismal 2-for-15 from the field in Game 3, accounting for 14 points. He scored 15 points in each of the first two games.
Julius Randle is 13-54 FG in this series (24.1%).
It’s the worst FG pct by any player in the first 3 games of a postseason in the shot-clock era (min. 50 FGA). pic.twitter.com/wf2SJHgNAz
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 29, 2021
Randle is shooting a pathetic 24.1% (13-of-54) during the series. That’s the worst average any player has posted through the first three games of a postseason series in the shot clock era.
Randle averaged 24.1 points per game during the regular season.
Averaging 21.5 points off the bench through the first two games, the Knicks gave veteran point guard Derrick Rose the start in Game 3. He responded with a game-high 30 points. However, Rose was also a game-worst -16.
All five Atlanta starters hit for double digits in Game 3. So did Kevin Huerter and Danilo Gallari off the bench.
Trae Young (21 PTS, 14 AST) and the Hawks take a 2-1 series lead over the Knicks 😤 pic.twitter.com/BwhqPGdhXY
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) May 29, 2021
New York shooting guard RJ Barrett is averaging 11.3 points and shooting 34.2% from the field.
The Knicks have won five of seven overall from the Hawks and four of the last six meetings in Atlanta.
Pick: New York Knicks (+160)
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An industry veteran, Bob literally taught the course on the history of sports at Elder College. He has worked as a Sports Columnist for Postmedia, appeared as a guest on several radio stations, was the Vice President of the Society For International Hockey Research in Ontario, and written 25 books.