What sparked a triumphant New York Knicks comeback against Atlanta in game 2?

knicks, julius randle
May 26, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Atlanta Hawks forward Danilo Gallinari (8) moves the ball against New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Elsa/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks engaged in a triumphant comeback against the Atlanta Hawks in game two on Wednesday evening. After starting the first half sluggish, taking poor shots, and letting the energy get the best of them, they rebounded in the second half, showcasing one of the most inspiring performances of the season.

The Knicks trailed by 15 points in the first half but didn’t let the score demoralized them, as they picked up their energy and played aggressive Tom Thibodeau defense. However, this one was a team effort, and there were a variety of factors that played into this unbelievable comeback.

What sparked the incredible New York Knicks comeback?

1.) Julius Randle’s 2nd half

The first half of the game was putrid for All-Star Julius Randle, who was unable to find the basket and was heaving up poor shots. However, he came out in the second half a rejuvenated man, finishing the game with 15 points, 12 rebounds, four-assist, and a +3 +/-.

Once he found his groove, the Knicks rallied around him, hitting shots and building their confidence. It is clear that when Julius is playing well and efficiently, his teammates respond similarly.

2.) Taj Gibson’s relentless pursuit

The Knicks wouldn’t have emerged victorious without the constant pursuit and energy that Taj Gibson brought to the court. Over 30 minutes, the 35-year-old recorded seven rebounds but also earned three steals, leading both teams in the category.

The veteran center was an integral part of the Knicks’ success, and his constant aggression and desire to get the ball was on full display. If not for his commitment and elevating style of play, there’s a solid chance New York would’ve been heading to Atlanta in the hole two games.

3.) Reggie Bullock draining 3s

After missing all five of those attempts in game one, Reggie Bullock returned with a vengeance, hitting 4-of-7 shots from beyond on the arc. He finished with 15 points, four rebounds and connected on five shots from the field. His efficiency and production ended up being essential, as the Knicks desperately needed him to hit his open shots from three.

Again, the second half was a complete turnaround for this team, and it was fueled by the resurgence of Julius Randle.

4.) Derrick Rose making an impact

Of course, I would be remiss not to mention the impact of Derrick Rose. The veteran point guard played 39 minutes, compared to Elfrid Payton’s five. He scored a team-high 26 points, recording four assists and four rebounds. He hit all six of his free throws and two 3-point shots on three attempts.

Overall, Rose doesn’t look like he’s lost a step since his earlier days, and he made sure to detail the importance of this victory in the postseason with the Knicks.

“I’ve been dreaming about this moment for a long time.”

Some had their doubts that Rose could hold up over the course of an entire game, but he harped on his preparation and stamina training, which paid off big time in the victory. 39 minutes for a player who has suffered a torn ACL and multiple knee injuries is adequate. He will continue to be a force for the Knicks as long as he remains healthy, and they desperately need his spark moving forward.

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