A crowd that waited eight years to see another Knicks playoff game needed just minutes to make Trae Young its target.
Young heard the fans’ hate. Then he silenced them.
“I’ve always looked at it that I’m doing something right if I’m affecting them with my play that much that they hate me that much,” he said. “I’m obviously doing something right and just got to let my play do the talking.”
Young made a runner in the lane with 0.9 seconds left to give the Atlanta Hawks a 107-105 victory over New York on Sunday night in a thrilling postseason return for both teams.
Young finished with 32 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. He frustrated the Knicks with his ability to draw fouls and made all nine free throws when he did.
He looked like Reggie Miller in the 1990s, feeding off a New York crowd — featuring a rowdy Spike Lee, just like those days — that cursed his name repeatedly when he made a shot or drew a foul.
“He’s small but he’s a tough kid and he’s not afraid,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said.
Many in the loud crowd of more than 15,000 jeered Young throughout the night but he got the final word when he drove right through the Knicks’ defense and floated in his shot from right of the basket, then put his fingers to his lips to tell the crowd to quiet down.