Young scores 32, Hawks beat Celtics for 1st time this season
ATLANTA — Trae Young scored 32 points in his best game of the playoffs and the Atlanta Hawks gave themselves a glimmer of hope, beating the Boston Celtics 130-122 Friday night to close the gap to 2-1 in the opening-round series.
Young hit a step-back 3-pointer from the corner with 2:21 left and knocked down another huge basket on a floater in the lane with 45 seconds remaining after Jaylen Brown missed a 3-pointer that would’ve tied it for the Celtics.
The seventh-seeded Hawks will try to even the series against the second-seeded Celtics in Game 4 on Sunday night at State Farm Arena.
Jayson Tatum scored 29 points to lead Boston, which was barely challenged in the first two games of the series.
Young was under fire after making just 14 of 40 shots in Beantown. He was much better in Game 3, connecting on 12 of 22 attempts and doling out nine assists.
Dejounte Murray had another big game for the Hawks, scoring 25 points, including a 3-pointer with 1:40 remaining that helped Atlanta protect a puny lead.
Unlike the first two games in Boston, where the Celtics pushed out to big leads and cruised to a pair of 13-point victories, the Hawks finally put up a fight.
With Derrick White forced to the bench in the early going with two quick fouls, the Hawks took advantage of a chink in the Boston defense to get things rolling. Atlanta knocked down 30 of 46 shots (65.2%) in the first half. Pumped up by a standing-room-only crowd, the Hawks built a 14-point lead — their biggest of the series — late in the first half. But the Celtics responded with eight straight points and went to the locker room down 74-67.
It was Atlanta’ first victory over Boston this season. The Hawks dropped all three regular-season meetings.
KNICKS 99, CAVALIERS 79: Jalen Brunson scored 21 points, RJ Barrett broke out of a slump with 19 and New York rolled over Cleveland at Madison Square Garden to take a 2-1 first-round series lead.
The Knicks emphatically bounced back from a loss in Game 2 by becoming the first team to allow fewer than 80 points during the regular season or postseason.
Josh Hart added 13 points for the fifth-seeded Knicks, who haven’t reached the second round since beating the Boston Celtics 2013.
Donovan Mitchell scored 22 points for the Cavaliers. Cleveland’s previous low this season was 81 points, which also came against the Knicks on Dec. 4.
NUGGETS 120, TIMBERWOLVES 111: Nikola Jokic had his seventh career triple-double in the playoffs with 20 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists as Denver fended off host Minnesota to take a 3-0 lead in its first-round playoff series.