ATLANTA (AP)Trae Young led the way for the Atlanta Hawks, as usual.
He sure had plenty of help.
Proving they are far more than a one-man team, the Hawks unleashed a dazzling array of weapons to take control of their series against the New York Knicks.
Young scored 27 points, John Collins added 22 despite a smack to the lip and the Hawks frustrated Julius Randle and the Knicks once again, pulling away in the second half for a 113-96 victory Sunday that gave Atlanta a 3-1 lead in the series
”We have so many guys who are skilled with the basketball,” Collins said. ”We have great chemistry with each other. I think the sky’s the limit with this team when we do the right things.”
The Hawks will look to wrap up their first playoff series victory since 2016 when they travel to Madison Square Garden for Game 5 on Wednesday night.
”Obviously, we’re excited to win a game,” Young said. ”But the job’s not done. It’s not done until the series is over. We have to have that same mentality, that same approach, try to go up to New York and finish it there.”
Atlanta took control in the third quarter, stretching a four-point edge at the half to an 88-71 lead going to the final period. The Hawks led by as many as 26 before clearing their bench in by far the most lopsided game of the series.
After struggling to hit shots in the first half, Atlanta suddenly found its range. The Hawks went 10 of 19 in the third, including 5 of 9 beyond the arc. Young scored nine points, Collins added sevenand Bogdan Bogdanovic closed out the third with a 3-pointer that had another big crowd bouncing in their seats.
Randle was serenaded again by chants of ”Overrated! Overrated! Overrated!” every time he put one up. The roars were deafening after a sequence in the third when Randle missed on a drive and had a put-back rim out before the Knicks knocked the ball out of bounds.
Less than a minute later, Randle gave Collins a shot to the face on another move toward the basket. Nothing was called initially, but Randle was assessed an offensive foul after a video review prompted by a challenge from Hawks coach Nate McMillan.
Collins headed to the locker room to receive four stitches in his upper lip. His bottom lip was also swollen, but he was able to return to the game in the fourth quarter.
By then, the outcome was no longer in doubt.
”I loved it,” Collins said. ”I felt like from the very start, we came out with the mindset that we were not going to let their physical game get to us. We matched their physicality and played our game.”
Young and five of his teammates scored in double figures, including Danilo Gallinari with 21 points. A half-dozen players knocked down 3-pointers.
Young also had nine assists and joined Stephen Curry, Kevin Johnson and Oscar Robertson as the only players in NBA history to average 25 points and 10 assists through his first four career playoff games.
Randle had his highest-scoring game of the series with 23 points, but he was just 7 of 19 from the field and found himself surrounded by black-clad players every time he touched the ball. Clearly bothered by all the attention, he was called for a flagrant foul late in the game.
”We’ve got a Game 5 back at home to extend this series,” Randle said. ”I love our chances. It’s not over. It’s not nearly over.”
Derrick Rose, making his second straight start for the Knicks, got off to another strong start but wasn’t much of a factor the rest of the way. He finished with 18 points.
The Knicks are making their first playoff appearance since 2013. Unless they can pull off an improbable comeback, it’s going to be a brief one.
”We’ve got to fix it,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. ”We’ve got to fix it fast.”
Knicks: RJ Barrett scored 21 points. … New York was outrebounded 48-39. … After a huge edge in free throws in Game 3, when the Knicks hit 27 of 30 at the line compared to 5 of 8 for the Hawks, more calls went Atlanta’s way. The Hawks were 26 of 28 from the line, while New York was 19 of 23.
Hawks: C Clint Capela reached double figures in rebounds (15) for the fourth straight time in the series and 30th time in his postseason career. … Bogdanovic scored 12 points – all on 3-pointers.
Atlanta has never been viewed as one of the NBA’s toughest venues, but this year’s team is changing that perception.
The Hawks have won 13 consecutive home games dating back to the regular season, the longest active streak in the NBA. They are 21-2 in their last 23 games at State Farm Arena.
The crowd of 16,458 clearly spurred on the Hawks in Game 4.
”It’s been fun these past two games,” Young said. ”The fans showed up and brought a lot of energy.”
In addition to the flagrant foul on Randle, New York’s frustration was evident when Reggie Bullock picked up a technical in the closing minutes after lunging toward the Hawks huddle heading into a timeout.
Apparently upset at Gallinari, Bullock had to be pulled toward his own bench by his teammates.
”I was going to the bench to get my water. I wasn’t really paying attention to what was happening,” Gallinari said. ”I think that’s a normal reaction when you lose a game like this.”
Bullock has reason to be irritated. He had zero points and just four rebounds in nearly 34 minutes.
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