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Hawks take 2-1 series lead with 105-94 win over Knicks

NBA: Playoffs-New York Knicks at Atlanta Hawks Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks met at State Farm Arena for Game 3, as both teams looked to take a series lead in the Friday evening tilt. The Hawks were able to win their first home playoff game since 2017 by final score of 105-94 behind a solid, balanced team attack.

The Hawks ran out the same starting five they used in the first two games, while the Knicks made a change. New York inserted Derrick Rose into the starting unit for Elfrid Payton, a move many believed may come after Game 1.

The first quarter was dominated by...the refs? The Knicks shot 13 free throws as there were 15 fouls called in the opening period overall. After a blunder of an in-bound pass with 1.1 seconds by Danilo Gallinari, Julius Randle hit a three to give New York a 31-29 lead over Atlanta heading into the second.

The Knicks built out their lead a little bit early in the second, but ran into a buzzsaw as the quarter played out. Atlanta went on a bizarre 22-3 run that spanned nearly seven minutes.

To little surprise Trae Young was in the middle of everything, racking up 14 points and ten assists in the first half.

The Hawks were a scorching 9-of-15 from three-point range in the opening half, and led by 14 at the break despite being out shot 16 to 5 by New York on the free throw line.

Atlanta took a 58-44 lead in the the third quarter, and managed to hold that lead into the meat of the period. They led 68-52 at the 7:30 mark and were seemingly in control.

The Knicks were unable to make much ground in the third, trailing 86-72 after three quarters.

Kevin Huerter opened the fourth with a three to give the Hawks a 17-point lead early in the final period. Atlanta was able to maintain that lead with solid play on each end in the fourth, and won by a score of 105-94.

Atlanta’s defense was excellent throughout the evening, holding New York to 36.3% shooting from the field and 30% (9-of-30) from three.

Young led all Hawks scorers with 21 points to go with a game-leading 14 assists. It was a balanced attack for the Hawks top to bottom, with Collins adding 14 points. Gallinari had 12 points and was 4-of-4 from three. Bogdan Bogdanovic had 15 points and Huerter had 10 points while playing great defense throughout.

Derrick Rose was the only Knick with a pulse, seemingly, as he scored 30 points to go with six rebounds and five assists. Randle struggled mightily again, going 2-for-15 from the floor and scoring just 14 points.

The Hawks and Knicks will be back in action Sunday afternoon with Atlanta looking to take a 3-1 lead.