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Preview: Hawks, Knicks set for Game 1 in MSG

The playoffs are (finally) here.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at New York Knicks Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks will kick off their first-round series Sunday evening from Madison Square Garden. The matchup, which is between two teams with identical 41-31 regular season records, will be in a primetime slot on TNT.

The Knicks notoriously swept the Hawks this season, which is why they have the tiebreaker over Atlanta in the matchup between the Eastern Conference’s No. 4 and 5 seeds.

In the lone game Nate McMillan manned the helm for Atlanta vs. the Knicks this season, Trae Young got banged up in the second half and the Hawks lost in overtime. While the Knicks are touted as one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, the Hawks had no trouble scoring in that game, even after Young left the contest.

These teams are very evenly matched on paper, and it should make for a competitive and exciting series as both teams have snapped their respective playoff droughts. It will be New York’s first playoff appearance since 2013, while the Hawks last competed in the playoffs in the 2016-2017 season.

Our staff has provided ample and in-depth content to prepare readers for the series and the postseason at large, so here’s a rundown of everything that came out this week in preparation for the highly anticipated postseason showdown.


For Atlanta, Brandon Goodwin (out for season) and Cam Reddish (Achilles) will be out. The Knicks list Mitchell Robinson (foot) as doubtful as their only injury designation for Sunday’s game.

The Line

Depending where you look, New York is opening as a 1 or 1.5-point favorite over the Hawks on Sunday evening. The Knicks will reportedly have 15,000 fans in attendance, so there may be a homecourt element the Hawks have not faced this season in the Garden.

For the series, the Hawks are -115 to -125 favorites to advance depending where you look, despite seemingly every national media member with a pulse picking New York.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Sunday, May 23, 7:00 pm ET

Location: Madison Square Garden

TV: Bally Sports Southeast, TNT, NBA League Pass (out of market)

Radio: 92.9 The Game (Atlanta); Hawks Radio Network

Streaming: Bally Sports App