ATLANTA — The Knicks fairy tale season is coming to an end.
Tom Thibodeau’s Knicks have been a great team of the season. But their shortcomings were revealed during a depressing first-round series against the Hawks.
Julius Randle is slightly better and RJ Barrett is much better. But it wasn’t nearly enough to deter Atlanta’s firepower as the Hawks put the Knicks close to a 113-96 victory Sunday before 16,458 at the boisterous State Farm Arena.
The Knicks are 3-1 pitted in their best of seven events and have never returned from that deficit again in history. Only 13 of the 260 teams have recovered from a 3-1 deficit.
Game 5 returns at Garden Wednesday in the fourth quarter. Atlanta fans began singing “Hawks in Five” when they scored 23 points.
Shooting 24 percent in the afternoon, Randle scored a playoff-high 23 points and added seven assists and 10 rebounds, but shot only 7-for-19 and did five turnovers. He’s at the end of every game’s “overrated” chants.
Barrett added 21 points to a nice outing. And Derrick Rose was there again with 18 points, although 10 came in the first eight minutes.
but they have nothing else They have nothing from Reggie Bullock’s insufferable goal (0 pays 4, misses 3 points, 3 points) or enough consistency from Alec Burks (4v12).
Atlanta ran 15-5 to start the second half to lead 68-54. Trae Young (27 points, 9 assists) started with three pointers and a float. Jump over the boundary, make a strong foul and beat Randall. Then turned 3-pointer. They led 88-71 after three-quarters with six-pointer Bogdan Bogdanovic. The Hawks finished in two figures in scoring.
The Knicks will equalize with the Hawks leading by five points in the second quarter. But one lowly sequence lost momentum. Randle missed a short jumper, causing Young to bounce back in the break quickly. As the flashy guards hoisted the alley to John Collins for a massive slam.
Randle flipped it over and Bogdanovic came down and drilled 3 to give the Hawks their biggest lead at half at 51-44 with 2:20 left. The Hawks led 53-49 at halftime.
Randle scored 12 points in the first half. By shooting only 4-for-12, but looks more like himself in the decision. Barrett picked up seven points after one quarter. With his total in game 3, Barrett sprinkled with power drives, three pointers and two free throws another powerful attack into the basket, leading the Knicks 26-25 after one.
It was also a powerful point-guard fight in the second half for Rose overtaking Young 16-15.
New starting center Taj Gibson expects the Knicks to return with vengeance like they have done all season.
“When you play for the Knicks in this play-off round, It gives us a mentally prepared mind,” Gibson said before the game. “Because when you play in New York City all year, You are often criticized, ridiculed, and that prepares you. That’s why our team is so close. So we’re ready to bounce. That’s our idea.”
But it didn’t happen.