Is it too soon to compare him to Reggie Miller?
Knicks fans came ready to make some noise for Sunday’s Game 1 against the Hawks, and they did—until Trae Young sent them home in stunned silence.
The combination of the end of the Knicks’ long playoff drought and the easing of New York’s pandemic-related restrictions made for a uniquely electric atmosphere inside Madison Square Garden. The crowd of 15,047 (the largest of the weekend’s eight playoff openers) made themselves heard all night long, even well before the game started. The “F--- Trae Young” chants started outside the arena as fans entered and continued in the game’s early moments.
It was Young who had the last laugh, though. His floater with 0.9 seconds left gave the Hawks a two-point lead and made the Garden sound like it did back in the Alexey Shved days. The cherry on top was the shush gesture Young directed at the crowd while telling them, “It’s quiet as f--- in here.”
Young was all smiles as he walked back to the locker room after the final buzzer.
“It got real quiet at the end,” Young told TNT’s Inside the NBA crew after the game. “For me, I wanted to hear those ‘eff you’ chants again.”
Young’s taunt, obviously, brings up memories of Reggie Miller’s famous choke gesture during the first game of the 1995 Eastern Conference semis. And while the Hawks don’t have the same history with the Knicks that Miller’s Pacers did and Young’s game-winner wasn’t quite as dramatic as Miller’s eight points in 8.9 seconds, his taunt was equally cold-blooded.
Young’s poise and confidence in that moment was incredible. He’s only 22 and was playing in the first playoff game of his career. (Compare that with Miller who, at 29, had just completed his eighth NBA season and was playing in his 32nd playoff game.) It’s incredible that Young had the presence of mind and the guts to turn his attention to the crowd without missing a beat after the ball dropped through the net. That shush is going to be on his highlight reel for the rest of his career.
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