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The New York Knicks have been waiting for a victory to celebrate after a rough 18-game losing streak. I’m not talking about a win over the Atlanta Hawks, but a victory over the Atlanta Hawks. A few days ago, Knicks fans were frustrated and over-the-top skeptical when the Knicks said they wouldn’t trade Kristaps Porzingis. Now we know why. The Knicks got what they wanted: a lottery pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. They are the only NBA team to have four lottery picks since the 2015-16 draft. With that said, if you want to see how the Knicks are supposed to get back at Trae Young and the Hawks, you should check out this article.
The NBA draft is just two weeks away, and the Knicks will be picking No. 8 overall. With the draft just two weeks away, the Knicks have a lot of work to do. The Knicks currently have the 8th pick in the NBA draft, but will draft Trae Young. While Young will be an exciting player to watch, he is also a risky pick for the Knicks.
As expected, the first game between the Atlanta Hawks and the New York Knicks was a nail-biter that had to be decided in the final few seconds.
Fans of both teams were ecstatic to see their squads in the postseason after years of drought. For Knicks fans, this year has been special. They’ve been the laughing stock of the league for so long and now here they are, back in the playoffs.
However, their return to the postseason was spoiled by All-Star guard Trae Young. For those who tuned in to the game, Young was basically doing whatever he wanted with the Knicks’ defense. From floaters, to 3-pointers and assists, Young did a lot of damage.
As such, if the Knicks want to win Game 2 and the series, they need to make three key adjustments.
3. Defend the Pick-and-Roll
All game long, the Knicks didn’t have an answer for one of the most spammed plays in the book: the pick-and-roll. Young had several baskets in the paint simply because the Knicks didn’t know how to defend the pick-and-roll.
When he wasn’t scoring himself, Young was dishing it off to his big men for easy baskets in the paint.
Perhaps the most frustrating part for Knicks fans is that several of these shots were uncontested. New York the fourth-best defensive team in the regular season with a rating of 107.8. But where was this stellar defense on Sunday? It wasn’t just Young who abused this weak interior defense. As usual, Lou Williams came off the bench and dropped 13 points in 13 minutes. A chunk of these points came in the third and fourth quarters where the game was neck and neck.
Williams is great, but he’s old and not having the best season of his career. So this is just a failure on the Knicks’ part to come up with an effective defensive game plan.
2. Don’t Rotate Off Bogdan Bogdanovic
Stemming from the Knicks’ failure to contain the pick-and-roll is their penchant for rotating off Bogdan Bogdanovic. RJ Barrett was caught several times trying to help clog the paint by rotating off the sharpshooter. Props to him for trying his best to rotate back to Bogdanovic, but the Serbian is a stone-cold killer from deep. In the regular season, he shot at an elite 43.8 percent from deep, so it doesn’t make sense that Tom Thibodeau instructed his players to sag off him.
Like Williams’ production, several of Bogdanovic’s 3-pointers came in the second half. Whenever the Knicks were mounting a run, the Hawks would run a simple pick-and-roll to find a wide-open Bogdanovic, licking his lips, checking the wind, before killing them with a 3-pointer.
1. Execute in the Clutch
To be fair, 0.9 second is enough time for a catch-and-shoot play. We’ve seen a ton of game-winners with less than one second left in the clock. Frankly, this first-round series will likely feature a lot of close games. Don’t be surprised if it heads to a Game 7. As such, the Knicks need to execute in the clutch.
The last play drawn up by Thibodeau was just a horrible set-up. It’s even difficult to believe that was the play he actually drew up.
After all, though Alec Burks had a terrific game, that inbound pass to Julius Randle just sucked. After jumping up to catch the ball, Randle had no choice but to toss it up and pray for it to go in. The Knicks cannot rely on luck alone if they want to win this series. They showed signs of greatness in this game, but they faltered when it mattered the most.
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