— — — The New York Knicks needed a change in the second half after falling behind by 13 points.
They required Julius Randle, who they had seen during the regular season.
Rose scored 26 points, Randle overcame a dreadful first half to lead a third-quarter comeback, and the Knicks tied the series at 101-92 in Game 2 on Wednesday night.
At halftime, Randle was 0 for 6 with two points. With Rose in the starting lineup to start the third quarter, Randle hit a 3-pointer to start the quarter and went on to score 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting as the Knicks took the lead.
“Obviously, we were upset with how we played in the first half, but I felt there would be a great fight in the second half, and there was,” said Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau.
“And I believe Julius, after hitting that shot, is not going away. He’ll just keep coming. He has a strong will, is determined, and is a fighter.”
Despite another terrible shooting night, the winner of the NBA’s Most Improved Player award finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds. After shooting 6 for 23 in the first game, he was 5 for 16 in the second.
But he delivered when it mattered, along with Reggie Bullock, who had 15 points and four 3-pointers in the second half as the Knicks ensured at least one more home game in this remarkable season.
“Obviously, there will be disappointments throughout the game, but we know who we are as a team,” Randle said. “We’ll never wonder whether or not we can win a game.”
Trae Young led Atlanta with 30 points after scoring 32 in Game 1 and nailing the game-winning shot with 0.9 seconds left. De’Andre Hunter and Bogdan Bogdanovic each had 18 points.
Game 3 will take place on Friday night in Atlanta, where the Hawks will be able to play in front of a full house for the first time this season.
“I hope Atlanta is ready to bring that excitement and that it is loud, and I hope everyone is eager to have playoffs back in the A,” Young said. “And I’m ready to play back inside that arena in front of those fans.” So it’ll be entertaining.”
With 4:45 remaining, Rose made the jumper that gave the Knicks the lead for good at 93-91, kicking off a decisive 9-0 run. Thibodeau persevered with one of his most trusted players for 39 minutes to keep the series — and possibly the season — alive.
By placing his finger to his lip after his game-winning jumper on Sunday, Young established himself as a villain figure for Knicks fans.
Young was booed every time he touched the ball in Game 1 because of the vulgar chanting that began before the Hawks even arrived on the field for warmups.
Late in the second quarter, he got hot both inside and outside — way outside. In the closing minute of the half, he made a 12-point run that included a 3-pointer from 30 feet, a reverse layup, a jumper, and another 3-pointer to make it 57-42.
Midway through the third quarter, Atlanta led by 12 points when Randle sparked a 16-2 run by resuming his aggressive play after playing passively. With 1:45 left in the period, he hit a jumper after Bullock hit consecutive 3-pointers to cap the charge and make it 74-72.
With 8:34 remaining, New York led 88-78, but Young came back to spark a 13-3 run that knotted the game at 91 when he lobbed Clint Capela.
Even though Thibodeau had pulled struggling point guard Elfrid Payton after nearly four minutes in either half of Game 1 and never reinserted him, he kept his regular starting lineup.
After Atlanta’s 11-0 run, the Knicks called time and introduced Rose. Payton lasted just over five minutes this time. Randle, on the other hand, had two airballs in his first three shots.
Hawks: Game 3 will be State Farm Arena’s first playoff game since its makeover in 2018. This year’s All-Star Game was held there. Capela pulled down 12 rebounds.
Randle received his Most Improved Player award from the Knicks, which he won in a blowout Tuesday. Starting centre Mitchell Robinson, who broke his right foot on March 27, is still “a few steps away,” according to Thibodeau.
When asked about Young’s engagement with the Madison Square Garden fans in Game 1, Rose said it was “business as usual.”
“It’s unfortunate that the league has become so soft, but that’s basketball,” Rose added. “He came in, he played a terrific game, and that’s what the fans are meant to do.” His reaction is designed to be that way, amplifying and bringing the atmosphere and environment to where they are today. That’s what I’m used to, after all.
“I’ve been in series where parents, such as people’s mothers, have been thrown drinks. For example, imagine you’re on the court and you witness your mother getting beer sprayed all over her. That’s the setting I’m used to, and it’s a little different now.”