The Phantom Fouls on Trae Young Game. 6 Reasons Why Atlanta 107 NY 105 in Game 1

Trae Young got 3 ridiculous calls in the closing 5 minutes of this game to give Atlanta the victory. They were phantom calls where the Knick didn’t or barely touched him — yet he was to the line for free throws. He got Michael Jordan treatment. It is difficult to win a game in that scenario, and the Knicks lost, 107-105 — the loss spurred also by a big 3 by Bogdan Bogdanovic with 55 seconds left to tie the score, with the 24-second clock almost expired.

It was a frustrating loss for the Knicks, who held the lead for a good part of the 4th quarter until the closing minutes, when the lead bounced back and forth and it was anyone’s game.

1. The Ridiculous Young Calls

The 1st of the ridiculous calls came with 5:03 left and the Knicks up by 4, 89-85. Young got into the lane and missed a short jumper, but they called Alec Burks for fouling him from behind when Burks barely touched him if at all. Ridiculous. But Young to the line for 2 free throws and Atlanta pulled to within 2 points.

The 2nd of the ridiculous calls came with 1:51 left where Young hit a floater, and they called Derrick Rose for a foul where Rose again barely touched him. But Young was to the line for an ‘and-one’ free throw for a 3-pt play and Atlanta took a 100-98 lead.

The 3rd of the ridiculous calls was the game winner — with 28 seconds left and a tie game, Young drove and missed a floater, but RJ Barrett was called for a foul, even though he didn’t touch him — or if he did it was the most miniscule contact. Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau challenged. Everyone watching the replay assumed the Knicks would win the challenge. But they didn’t. The refs ruled it a foul and Young was to the line for the game-winning free throws.

And there went the 1st game of the 2021 playoffs. Next game Wednesday night. It is a 7-game series.

2. Burks & Rose Heroes for Knicks

Alec Burks almost led the Knicks to this win — should have led the Knicks to a win as the Knicks would’ve won without the ridiculous calls to Young. Burks all season has been a ‘poor man’s Kobe Bryant‘ for the Knicks — actually scoring with the same moves and point totals of a Kobe Bryant — and in this game, he was Kobe Bryant in the 4th quarter. Scoring in all kinds of ways in big moments — slashing to the hoop, hitting turnarounds, hitting big 3’s.

Burks finished with 27 points on 9-13 shooting (3-5 from 3, 6-8 in free throws) for a +8.

Derrick Rose played vintage Derrick Rose all night — 17 points on 8-16 shooting, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists for a +3 in 38 minutes.

3. Quickley & Obi Lead Comeback

The Knicks were down early in this game — 22-11 — as they couldn’t hit a shot. But the second team, especially Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin, got them back into the game with frenetic play in the 2nd quarter. They pulled the Knicks to within 2 points at the half.

Both played with extreme confidence as if they were made for the frenetic action with the incredibly loud Madison Square Garden crowd.

Quickley had 10 points on 4-7 shooting (2-2 from 3) in 21 minutes for a +6. His aggressiveness and confidence was the opposite of Elfrid Payton, who came out sluggish and missed 3 inside shots and was pulled from the game after 8 minutes and not put back in.

Toppin had 5 points on 2-3 shooting for a +3 in 12 minutes.

4. Barrett Bully Ball in 3rd

RJ Barrett took over in the 3rd quarter. His driving layup with 10:26 left tied the score at 54. His 3 at 5:36 left pulled the Knicks within 2 at 63-61. On the next play his breakaway dunk tied the score at 63.

Barrett’s tip in with 1:44 left in the quarter gave the Knicks a 70-66 lead.

Barrett finished with 14 points on 6-15 shooting (1-6 from 3). Not a great shooting night from him overall but he played well in the second half, with the big 3rd quarter and also made a huge drive with 2:37 left in the 4th to pull the Knicks within 2 at the time. Barrett also had 11 rebounds.

5. The Lou-Williams Run

The Knicks had a 6-point lead with 35 seconds left in the 3rd quarter — but Lou Williams hit a jumper and then a 3 after a bad pass by Julius Randle and Atlanta was right back in the game 73-71. Lou Williams hit a driving layup at the start of the 4th to tie the game.

That hurt. But the Knicks soon regained the lead due to Alec Burks’ play.

6. Randle Off Game

Julius Randle struggled all night to find his rhythm. He shot 6-23 for 15 points. He had 12 rebounds and 4 assists and hit a Huge 3 with 2 minutes left to give the Knicks a 98-97 lead. That should have been the redemption shot to make him a hero for the evening. But Trae Young got all those calls at the end.


Reggie Bullock also had an off game shooting, alongside Randle. Bullock was 3-9 (0-5 from 3) for 6 points in 19 minutes.

Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson played great down low; although both had a tough time contending with Clint Capella who is bigger then them. Noel sprained his ankle midway thru the 4th and Gibson finished the game at center.

The Boxscore

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