Breaking down matchups in Knicks-Hawks series

Most NBA scouts view this first-round matchup between playoff neophytes who completed with the identical document of 41-31 because the Knicks’ gritty protection versus Atlanta’s finesse-filled offense. But Knicks-Hawks is more than that. The Post’s Marc Berman breaks it down:

Knicks’ 3-point taking pictures vs. Hawks’ 3-point protection

The 3-point shot has consumed the NBA. The prime 12 groups in 3-point taking pictures share every made the playoffs. And the Knicks, shockingly, completed third at 39.2 p.c, regardless that they don’t launch a bunch. That figured as their key weak spot. When senior VP William Wesley lobbied in the conflict room to draft Immanuel Quickley, he bellowed concerning the want for 3-point taking pictures. Who knew Julius Randle would jump from 28 percent to 41.1 percent in his seventh season? And RJ Barrett from 33 p.c to 40.1 p.c? Reggie Bullock, at 41 p.c, was one among 5 Knicks to shoot greater than 40 p.c. Even Derrick Rose completed at 41.1 p.c. It’s most likely not a fluke, although one scout mentioned, “Barrett can simply as simply go 1-for-7 as 5-for-5.’’ The Hawks defend the road, ending third in 3-point protection (34.9 p.c). Edge: Even

Julius Randle and Trae Young
Julius Randle and Trae Young
Getty Images (2)

Hawks’ 3-point taking pictures vs. Knicks’ 3-point protection

This may win the Hawks the series with all their trusty 3-point snipers. Under Nate McMillan, they rose in 3-point share from 35 p.c to 38.7 p.c. Trae Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Kevin Huerter, Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams are all sharpshooters. The Knicks have completed terrifically denying the 3-point shot and led the league in 3-point protection (33.7 p.c). Still, one concept is {that a} harmful perimeter taking pictures crew often trumps 3-point D, particularly if Atlanta will get going early in the series. Edge: Atlanta.


Atlanta is clearly the higher offensive rebounding crew, led by the league chief, heart Clint Capela, who averaged 14.3 boards. Knicks undersized facilities Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson every mentioned conserving Capela off the offensive glass is important. The Knicks have rebounded stoutly (seventh in defensive rebounding), however they miss injured heart Mitchell Robinson right here. The 7-footer turned a wonderful rebounder. Remember when David Fizdale known as Robinson “The subsequent Capela.’’ Rookie Obi Toppin has progressed, however only for rebounding issues, his minutes could also be decreased additional for extra skilled boardwork in Gibson. Randle led the Knicks at 10.2 rebounds, however hasn’t been an offensive rebounder. Atlanta will not be a prime defensive rebounding membership. Edge: Even

Drawing fouls and taking pictures free throws

The Knicks imagine lowering fouls on Young might be the difference-maker. Young is an professional on drawing fouls and makes 88.6 p.c from the stripe. The Hawks are fifth in the league in free-throw taking pictures at 81 p.c. The Knicks improved over final season’s mediocre 69.4 p.c however nonetheless ranked 14th at 78 p.c. Quickley hasn’t been as efficient at drawing fouls as early in the season, however he’s a terrific free-throw shooter (89.1) Edge: Hawks

Knicks’ means to get paint factors vs. Hawks’ inside protection

This is a Knicks concern so far as their struggling place to begin guard, Elfrid Payton. He’s now not attacking with vigor. And Capela looms giant, third in the league in blocks (2.0). The Knicks are ranked twenty sixth in factors in the paint. Noel doesn’t get sufficient rubbish buckets/alley-oops. Randle and Rose must bully to the rim. Hawks versatile ahead De’Andre Hunter will loom giant as a key Randle stopper and inside presence now that he’s wholesome. Edge: Hawks

Hawks’ means to get paint factors vs. Knicks’ inside protection

Atlanta is ranked simply 14th in the league in factors in the paint as each golf equipment are extra perimeter-oriented. But Young will get his share of floaters in the paint. Noel and Gibson have fashioned a fierce rim-protection duo. Noel completed second in the league in blocked pictures (2.2). Scouts take into account Gibson as good a positional defender as there may be in the league. Edge: Knicks

In transition

Knicks are ranked twenty second in the NBA in tempo. That’s not a shock from a Tom Thibodeau offense. He’s a half-court man who desires dribble-penetration to create double groups and ball motion. Atlanta ranks eighth, however this received’t win a series. Edge: Hawks


Both groups are deep, however particularly the Knicks. Rose is a finalist for Sixth Man of the Year, and if Alec Burks didn’t get COVID-19, he’d be a candidate, too. Scouts really feel if the Knicks starters can maintain even, their bench will win them video games, particularly if Quickley is rolling. But the Hawks did a strong by including Williams on the commerce deadline — one of many nice bench gamers of all time. Edge: Knicks


This series screams how essential teaching is in the NBA. McMillan took over for Lloyd Pierce on March 1 and weaved a 27-11 record after the Hawks have been stumbling at 14-20. He’s made Young, in specific, a greater decision-maker, and the Hawks have taken care of the ball higher with smarter shot choice. Books have been written about Thibodeau altering the Knicks’ tradition after being a laughingstock for seven straight non-playoff season. He’s maximized the expertise out of this roster that nobody had whilst a Tenth-place play-in crew. Edge: Knicks


The bulk core of the Hawks don’t have any playoff expertise. At least the Knicks have Rose, Gibson and Bullock. That issues loads, particularly in tight affairs. The Garden will host 15,000 followers — seven instances bigger than in their earlier 22 dwelling video games (1,980). Owner James Dolan is giddy about packing the Garden once more. Be cautious what you would like for: The Knicks have performed spectacularly in a really empty Garden. Edge: Knicks

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