Key player: Trae Young. If he responded well in the fire of Madison Square Garden it didn’t change in the friendly confines of State Farm Arena as he led the Hawks with 21 points and 14 assists, maybe the assists even more important than the points as he got some of his struggling teammates going on this night.
Key statistic: 4-for-24: The combined shooting numbers for Julius Randle — 2-for-15 — and RJ Barrett, who was 2-for-9. The Knicks could not overcome the lack of production from their two franchise cornerstones.
Turning point: Late in the first half the Knicks were trailing 45-42 and then went ice cold with Atlanta running off 13 straight points before Derrick Rose scored with 20.9 seconds left to put the Knicks down 14 at intermission.
Did you notice? When Clint Capela swatted a Randle shot into the stands he went to the stands and excitedly mimicked Dikembe Mutombo’s finger-wagging motion.
Injury report: Nerlens Noel, who was questionable with a sprained right ankle, was clearly struggling with the limitations while playing 21:40 off the bench. He gamely had 12 points and 8 rebounds, but didn’t block a shot.
Other news: The move to insert Rose into the starting lineup paid dividends with Rose scoring 30 points. Elfrid Payton, who had started the first two games of the series, never got off the bench.