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Game 5 — Hawks 103, Knicks 89: Scenes from graduation

A season sung from the rooftops ends with a whimper and with hope.

Atlanta Hawks v New York Knicks - Game Five Photo by Wendell Cruz-Pool/Getty Images

And then there were none.

No more games. No more adjustments. No alarms and no surprises. The Knicks’ 2021 season came to end with a 103-89 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. The final vintage feels unworthy of the grapes squeezed during a pleasantly surprising year 75 for the franchise. But let’s drink what there is and bugger tomorrow’s hangover. So many recent seasons were indistinguishably sad. Pour one out for a bitter end and to better days to come. Sooner than later, for once?

Early on there were signs of hope. Julius Randle nearly posted a double-double in the first quarter, and Reggie Bullock was looking like the Bullock the Knicks remembered from the regular season.

Along with those two, Alec Burks was one of just two other Knicks to notch double-figures. Put an asterisk next to this effort by the Caldor Jordan.

But the Hawks are clearly the better team. Didn’t see a lot of these kinds of sequences by the boys in blue and orange.

What a breakout series for De’Andre’s Hunter, who made timely plays on both sides of the ball to help his team win. His ceiling is a wonderful variable as the Hawks calculate all their possible futures.

As always, though, the gravitational center of this game and this series was Trae Young, who had another brilliant evening. Sometimes he was throwing lobs to John Collins for acrobatic finishes.

Sometimes it was too much Trae. It was always too much Trae, really, the whole series.

That’s it for now, everybody. Whatever dreams you had for this team after they surpassed our initial horizons, this year’s dreams are officially over. Hope you had fun following this unexpected ascent. Especially hope you had fun following it here at P&T. Benny Buckets will have your recap here. Sometime tomorrow morning I’ll have one up at The Strickland. Plenty to discuss in the coming days and weeks as the playoffs rage on, followed by the draft and free agency. Pause. Inhale. Exhale slowly. Take stock of where you are, with your feelings about this team and this season. Odds are a lot of us are right there with you.