The Atlanta Hawks lost to the New York Knicks 137-127 in overtime last night, but the bigger story is the status of Trae Young after he left the game with a left ankle sprain. Interim head coach Nate McMillan said Young had a negative X-ray following the game and will do an MRI upon getting back to Atlanta.
Trae exited the game with what appeared to be a left leg injury. pic.twitter.com/Dxl8JHKMIa— Bally Sports: Hawks (@HawksOnBally) April 22, 2021
Young suffered the injury late in the third quarter when he came down on the foot of Norvel Pelle on a floater attempt. He was helped to the locker room and appeared to be putting little-to-no weight on his left leg.
Trae Young (left ankle sprain) will not return to tonight’s game.— Hawks PR (@HawksPR) April 22, 2021
Young will obviously be evaluated as soon as possible with updates to follow, and needless to say this is not ideal for the Hawks, who are enjoying the hottest stretch of their season. Losing Young for any extended period will likely put a huge damper in Atlanta’s playoff seeding, and even chances as a whole.
“Injuries are part of it. Unfortunately for us, we’ve had a number of injuries throughout this season,” said McMillan on the topic of Young going down. “Going down the stretch with 12 or 13 games remaining, we need bodies. We’re really limited with the bodies that we have. Think these guys are giving us all that they have, we’re playing a really tight schedule where games are every other day. It’s a challenge for us, but a lot of other teams are dealing with this as far as adapting to what you have, who’s healthy, who’s ready to go. I think our trainers are doing the best job they can trying to get the guys healthy and back out on the floor.”
“It says that we have a lot of character,” said Clint Capela of the Hawks’ ability to compete despite all of the injuries this season. “Since the beginning of the season, that’s kind of our mentality when guys go down. The next man answering positively. It’s kind of what we did the past couple games when we had guys out vs. Toronto and Charlotte. Tonight it was a tougher matchup for us. It didn’t end like we wanted to but I’m proud of this team because we put up a fight.”
Also something to note in the injury department, Capela took a hard fall on his back side in the fourth, but he did stay in the game. He looked to be in some pain following the fall, however, so it may be something to monitor going forward.
“It’s pretty sore right now, hard to walk,” Capela said after the game. “I felt like if I could walk I can shoot free throws, I wanted to finish the game and be with the guys, fight through it.”
“He fell on his tailbone, that’s a painful injury,” said McMillan. “I think tomorrow he’s going to really feel that. He had to shoot the free throws to stay in the game, and he wanted to stay in. It just shows what this team is doing this season. They are giving us everything that they have. That injury is going to be painful tomorrow, he was basically limping the last few minutes, he limped off the floor. Gotta get some ice on him as quick as possible. Just the fight these guys showed tonight is what we want to be about.”
The Knicks moved to 3-0 vs. the Hawks on the season last night, and will soundly hold any potential seeding tiebreaker with Atlanta should they end up with the same record heading into the postseason. Julius Randle was again the story for New York, as he scored 40 points (6-for-8 from three) to go along with 11 rebounds and six assists in the win. The performance marked Randle’s second 40-point game vs. the Hawks this season.
The Knicks were scalding hot from three as a team in the win, making 19-of-35 (54.3%) shots behind the arc. Derrick Rose and Immanuel Quickley both had 20 points off the bench for New York.
Capela led the Hawks with 25 points and 22 rebounds, with Young adding 20 points and 14 assists in his 30 minutes before exiting with the injury. Bogdan Bogdanovic had 20 points, six rebounds and four assists, while John Collins had 18 points and three rebounds. Kevin Huerter had 17 points and four assists.
Atlanta got off to a hot start in this one, scoring 39 points in the first quarter.
The Hawks went on a 17-2 run in the middle of the period to take a 30-21 lead. They only led by five however thanks to six first-quarter threes by New York.
New York had a 6-0 run early in the second to tighten the score, and from there, it was a back-and-forth affair for the remainder of the first half.
In somewhat surprising fashion given New York’s prowess on the defensive end and slow offensive pace, the first half was a track meet, and the Hawks led 69-67 at the half. Atlanta was absolutely humming offensively in the first two quarters, as they shot 53.8% from the floor and had 17 assists as a team. They were not able to separate however, as the Knicks’ torrid shooting from deep kept them in the game.
New York was 10-for-18 (62.5%) on threes in the opening half, and shot 59.1% overall from the floor. This enabled them to keep up, as they scored 67 first-half points despite committing 11 turnovers.
It’s shame that Young had to leave this one early, as he was rolling himself offensively. He had 18 points and 10 assists at half, and could have been on his way to a memorable performance (and win) in Madison Square Garden.
Atlanta actually enjoyed their best defensive quarter in the third, holding the Knicks to 23 points on 8-for-21 shooting (3-of-9 from 3PT). They were able to build a seven-point lead heading to the fourth, but obviously lost Young in the process, as he went to the locker room with the injury late in the third.
The Hawks led 109-101 with 7:46 remaining in regulation despite losing Young a few minutes before, and were in good position to close out the win without him, but New York had other plans. Quickley and Rose powered an 8-0 run than spanned less than 90 seconds to tie the score. Then Randle checked in, and from there the run was extended to 15-0 and the Knicks led 116-109 with 4:46 to go.
At this point, the Hawks seemed dead in the water after losing Young and Capela took a hard fall. Capela would stay in the game however, and Bogdanovic got hot, giving Atlanta some hope with back-to-back baskets before finding Collins for a three that would tie the score at 118 with just over two minutes to go in regulation.
Bogdanovic wasn’t done, however, as he hit a clutch three to tie the score at 122 with 6.9 seconds to go, ultimately sending the game to overtime.
Atlanta battled hard to get to OT, but once they got there, they appeared to be running on fumes. The Knicks outscored the Hawks 15-5 in the overtime period, taking home the 137-127 win and gaining sole possession of the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
One thing to note on the overtime is that Collins did not play in the period, and McMillan confirmed after the game that he is still on a minute restriction.
“I saw a lot of fight in this team, they continued to scrap,” said McMillan. “We’ve got a lot of injuries, we went down in that game, to lose Trae. Just losing another player, could have been really devastating in a 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. They gave us all they had, we were able to get the game to overtime but just didn’t have enough left to win.”
The Hawks return home for the weekend, as the play the Miami Heat on Friday night, and the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday night. Stay tuned for injury updates on Young, and others, as we approach Friday’s tip.