The victory marked the first playoff victory for the New York Knicks since 2013, and the crowd at Madison Square Garden erupted in joy.
The greatest audience in NBA history (15,000) was on hand to witness the Boston Celtics’ 101-92 triumph over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.
Derrick Rose Leads Knicks Past Hawks in Game 2
New York has not won a home playoff game since 2013 when the Knicks took down the Indiana Pacers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Seven consecutive losing seasons, seven head coaches, and a slew of missed free agency opportunities preceded their victories.
On Wednesday, though, all of that was history, as New York’s win was aided by the league’s Most Improved Player, Julius Randle, who scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau quickly removed starting point guard Elfrid Payton from the game after only five minutes of playing due to Payton’s poor play. He then decided to throw Derrick Rose, his most reliable player, into the game in an effort to win the game and possibly the series. The 2011 NBA MVP delivered for his coach and the sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden by delivering an electric performance that sparked a Knicks rally.
Knicks won Game 2 101-92 behind 26 points and 39 minutes from Rose, tying the series at 1 win apiece. D-Rose went 9 for 21, including 2 for 3 from deep, and 6 for 6 from the charity stripe. He also pulled down four boards and dished out four assists. But Rose did more than just rack up the numbers; he also roused a dozing Julius Randle.
At halftime, Randle was 0 for 6 from the field with just two points scored; however, with D-Rose as a member of the Knicks’ starting unit to begin the third quarter, the 2021 Most Improved Player winner scored 11 points on 4-5 shooting, and the Knicks cut a 13-point deficit to a one-point advantage.
Thibodeau continued to play D-Rose in the payoff round, and he delivered. With 4:45 remaining in regulation, he scored the jumper that put the Knicks ahead 93-91. The Knicks were able to put away the Hawks for good after a 9-0 run that Rose’s hoop helped start.
An dramatic first game of the series saw Trae Young score a late basket that stunned the crowd at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks’ first trip to the playoffs since 2013 was derailed by his game-winning shot, making him an instant villain. However, the Knicks have reacted magnificently, winning Game 2 of the series against the Hawks.