July 18, 2024

Knicks 119, Raptors 106: Scenes from DiVincenzo making another compelling  case for starting - Posting and ToastingSeventeen years after standing on the wrong side of a “True Underdog Story” (namely one of the “Dodgeball” variety), Ben Stiller took in a heartbreaking defeat that even Average Joe’s couldn’t match.

Stiller, the actor/producer/writer and New York Knicks superfan, was the latest guest on the “Roommates Show,” the podcast hosted by current Manhattan stars Jalen Brunson and Josh Hart. While Stiller has happily taken in the Knicks’ modern endeavors, he grimly revealed that the opening round of the 2021 Eastern Conference playoffs against the Atlanta Hawks sticks with him.

“Trae Young really triggered something with Knicks fans,” Stiller recalled (h/t Joe Schmidt of Peachtree Hoops). “In the lens of the Knicks and the playoffs, Trae doing his thing, he really incited the fans, and he seemed to enjoy it.”

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Still was, of course, recalling Young’s Madison Square Garden masterclass, where he famously averaged 29.2 points and 9.8 assists over a five-game series victory for the Hawks, one that spoiled the Knicks’ first playoff appearance in eight years.

Knicks fans routinely serenaded the Hawks’ franchise man with chants of “F*** Trae Young” throughout that series and for several of his subsequent MSG visits. Young took the taunts in stride but was sure to bow at the Manhattan midcourt as time ran out on the Knicks’ season.

That series against the Knicks has served as the defining moment of Young’s NBA career to date, as he guided the Hawks to a surprising Eastern Conference Finals appearance before they fell to the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks. Young has garnered a reputation as a “Knicks killer” thanks to the series, though his team has lost 14 of 19 regular season meetings against New York when he has played.

Currently dealing with a finger injury, Young was not on the floor when the Hawks visited MSG on Tuesday night. Atlanta nonetheless prevailed by a 116-100 final over a depleted Knicks group that was missing four starters, including Brunson. The win allowed Atlanta to take the three-game season series two games to one.

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