3 reasons the New York Knicks fell to Atlanta in first game of series

knicks, julius randle
Apr 21, 2021; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) argues after being called for a foul in the second quarter against the Atlanta Hawks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks fell to the Atlanta Hawks in the first game of their opening postseason series at home. The Knicks claimed the 4th seed to give themselves the advantage on their home court to commence their postseason play, but a variety of factors hurt their efficiency and production throughout the game.

Atlanta is no joke, as they consist of multiple players who can score on a whim, including Trae Young, Lou Williams, and Bogdan Bogdanovic. The Knicks’ defense simply couldn’t get the job done to hold out in the fourth quarter, losing by just two points.

Three reasons the New York Knicks fell to Atlanta:

1.) Julius Randle couldn’t catch a cold

The Knicks needed their All-Star to rise to the occasion and dominate when they needed him most, but he ended up shooting 6-of-23 from the field, including 2-of-6 from 3-PT, tallying just 15 points on the evening. Randle struggled throughout, turning the ball over three times and looking lackadaisical when trying to find his teammates in transition.

Randle admitted after the game that it wasn’t as most efficient performance, but he would bounce back on Wednesday with a vengeance. The Knicks need to claim at least one game before they head to Atlanta, and it would be a waste to the spirit and energy at MSG pass them by.

2.) Trae Young couldn’t be stopped in the paint

The Knicks were incredibly inefficient when Trae Young drove to the basket, specifically with his floaters. When Young would penetrate the interior, Knick defenders would hover towards the basket, giving him plenty of room to execute an open shot without much resistance.

If NY continues to give Young these efficient and productive looks, they will be taken advantage of, as Trae finished the game with 32 points, shooting 11-of-23 from the field and recording 10 assists.

3.) Complimentary pieces struggled at times

The Knicks put their best foot forward despite not having the efficiency from Julius Randle, but some of their complementary pieces also struggled in the loss. Specifically, Reggie Bullock failed to hit a three-pointer on five attempts, shooting 33% from the field. He was not only a liability on offense, his defense was also spotty, which cut his minutes to 19.

Rookie Obi Toppin ended up with 12 minutes of playing time, recording five points and an assist. The only reason New York had any foothold in the game was due to Alec Berks, who played 26 minutes and recorded 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting.

Ultimately, the Knicks are going to need more from their starters if they want to win on Wednesday, as Bullock was inadequate, Randle was essentially a non-factor, and Elfrid Payton was a severe liability every time he sniffed the court.