Though they had their hearts broken in Game 1, most Knicks fans believed that the team would validate their faith by coming back with gusto in Game 2. For the first half, at least, that was a mistake.
The Knicks played perhaps their most pathetic half of the season. The starting five was horrendous — sure, Elfrid Payton was his normal crappy self, but the other four starters were terrible as well. Julius Randle shot 0-6 in the first half. RJ Barrett shot 1-8 after hitting his first two of the game. Nerlens Noel was horrific. Reggie Bullock was invisible. The Hawks went into the break with a 13-point lead that felt like 20.
But these are still the Knicks you’ve come to know and love. They may get down, but they will never stop fighting. Tom Thibodeau FINALLY benched Elf (and Noel) to start the second half, and Randle responded with 11 points in the period as the Knicks stormed back to take a one-point lead.
They pushed that lead early in the fourth, led by the rookie who has finally arrived on the big stage, Obi Toppin.
OBI. TOPPIN.— x - KNICKS ON MSG (@KnicksMSGN) May 27, 2021
ABSOLUTE MAYHEM AT THE GARDEN pic.twitter.com/nOMnYcp1zz
Heroes abound in this one. Derrick Rose called out Trae Young in a pregame press conference by saying, “You wanna talk shit, talk shit… but next game it’s gonna be tougher.” The vet made it tougher on Young and the Hawks, scoring a team-high 26 points in a team-high 39 minutes.
Rose and Taj Gibson, the two wily old dudes, started the second half for New York, and Taj was masterful down low. He even got a dunk to help seal the win.
️ GO NEW YORK GO NEW YORK GO ️ pic.twitter.com/G1stscCXGH— x - KNICKS ON MSG (@KnicksMSGN) May 27, 2021
Reggie Bullock’s three-point shooting came back just when the team needed it most.
REGGIE BULLOCK FROM DOWNTOWN. pic.twitter.com/mCwG1BLcFD— x - KNICKS ON MSG (@KnicksMSGN) May 27, 2021
And so the series is tied at one game apiece. I think we all feel as emotional as Obi Toppin’s mom right now.
Recap to come.