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Knicks enter Game 2 vs. Hawks in critical position

Nobody associated to the Knicks used the time interval “must-win” all through their media availability on Tuesday, nevertheless it positively feels close to that diploma after they dropped their first-round assortment opener Sunday at residence to on the spot public enemy Trae Younger and the Hawks.

Recreation 2 on Wednesday night figures to be one different electrical and combative ambiance contained within the Backyard, with one different boisterous crowd in further of 15,000 in search of to help will the Knicks to a reduce up sooner than heading to Atlanta for the following two video video games.

The Knicks have been a resilient workforce all season beneath first-year coach Tom Thibodeau, nevertheless they may need to make the required modifications defensively in opposition to Younger, presumably a lineup tweak at degree guard and better offensive execution following poor Recreation 1 performances from All-Star forward Julius Randle and others.

“We don’t like shedding. Clearly, we need to win each single recreation. We need to win on a regular basis. … So we’re positively motivated to go and get the following one,” second-year guard RJ Barrett said after apply Tuesday by Zoom. “That is the NBA. You win some, you lose some. Simply obtained to always bounce once more. That’s what it’s really about.

“We’re feeling good, we’re feeling motivated and we’re able to go.”

Derrick Rose #4 and Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks
Derrick Rose and Julius Randle
Getty Pictures

The numbers will grow to be rather more daunting for the Knicks with out night time the gathering in Recreation 2. Solely 7 p.c of NBA teams which have fallen behind 2-0 in any postseason assortment in league historic previous have rebounded to win it — merely 27 of 426 stepping into this 12 months.

With one different loss, the Knicks should take 4 of the last word 5 video video games, with three of them to be carried out on the freeway at State Farm Area in Atlanta.

“Simply obtained to play stronger, go over the execution we went over on movie, be extra detailed, and simply be able to go on the market and slug it out,” veteran coronary heart Taj Gibson said. “We had a chance to win [Game 1] and we’ve obtained to execute larger down the stretch.

“It’s the playoffs, we all know they’re going to make some good runs. They’re a gifted group, however we simply must concentrate on ourselves and perceive what we have to do and observe the sport plan.”

Any recreation plan largely ought to concentrate on slowing Younger, who nailed the game-winning floater with 0.9 seconds remaining to quiet the group that had been directing profane chants at him all by the opener.

The 6-foot-1 guard moreover obtained to the free-throw line 9 situations, all within the fourth quarter, and knocked down every free throw, ending with a game-high 32 components and 10 assists within the 107-105 Atlanta win.

“My factor is I simply need consistency,” Thibodeau said of the fourth-quarter fouls. “I really don’t care how the game is called. It may very well be generally known as tight, it could be generally known as unfastened, merely be fixed.

“And if that occurs there’s a ton of performs that may go both manner. It’s a troublesome job, but it surely appeared prefer it was completely different within the fourth. You don’t need to see that.”

Thibodeau prevented the newest query Tuesday about potential modifications to the lineup, in some unspecified time in the future after not ruling out sitting down ineffective place to start guard Elfird Payton, who carried out eight scoreless minutes within the assortment opener.

Allocating these minutes to Frank Ntilikina, who obtained right here in chilly off the bench to guard Younger on the last word possession, moreover would permit Thibodeau to take care of his second unit — led by guards Derrick Rose, Alec Burks and Immanuel Quickley — intact.

“We misplaced the sport by two factors. It actually got here right down to a free ball. So we obtained to determine how to take the time play,” Thibodeau said. “On the high of three quarters we’ve got been in an excellent spot. We didn’t shut the third quarter along with we should at all times have.

“That’s what you need to know — in a playoff recreation, generally it’s one possession. So we simply must make it occur.”

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