The NBA playoffs got back the one thing they were sorely missing last year - a full-throated crowd going nuts at a game that went down to the wire.
Fittingly, it was Madison Square Garden in New York that played host to one of the larger NBA crowds seen since the league was shut down in March last year after the emergence of the coronavirus.
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The Knicks hosted the Atlanta Hawks in a tantalising Eastern Conference playoff matchup which went down to the wire - although it was the visiting Hawks who stole home court advantage with a pulsating 107-105 victory.
While the players put on one hell of a show, it was the vocal crowd that had NBA fans raving on social media.
Knicks fans have been in a frenzy throughout the second half of the season after they made the playoffs for the first time since 2013, earning the fourth seed thanks to much improved play from a team which lost 45 games last season.
But the home crowd, which had been going berserk all throughout the back and forth slugfest, was silenced after Hawks star Trae Young hit what would be the game-winning floater with just 0.9 left on the clock.
Knicks big-man Julius Randle had a chance to win it after a timeout, but couldn't hoist his shot in time as the visitors stunned the vocal home crowd.
Fans online were loving the rejuvenated playoff atmosphere.
Young finished with 32 points and 10 assists, relishing his role as antagonist after silencing the crowd when interviewed after the game.
At one point, the Madison Square Garden crowd erupted in a chant of 'f***' Trae Young'.
"If they hate me that much, I’m obviously doing something right," Young said.
"At the end of the day, fans can only talk. They can’t guard me."
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Young's game-winner capped a frantic fourth quarter that saw a lead change or a tie eight times in the final four minutes.
While Julius Randle struggled from the field, reserve Alec Burks exploded off the bench to lead the Knicks with 27 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter.
But Young and Bogdan Bogdanovic repeatedly found answers for Burks' blows to give the fifth-seeded Hawks the early series advantage over the No. 4 seed Knicks.
Young finished with 10 assists and seven rebounds to go with his 32 points as Bogdanovic scored 18 points while hitting 4 of 9 3-point attempts.
Two of those made Bogdanovic threes connected in the frenzied final four minutes of the fourth quarter.
The game marked a disappointing playoff debut for Randle, who played in his first postseason game since joining the NBA in 2014.
The Knicks All-Star tallied 15 points and 12 rebounds, but struggled from the field with a 6-of-23 effort. RJ Barrett was the only other Knicks starter to score in double figures with 14 points alongside 11 rebounds.
The game was played in front of a Knicks home crowd of 15,000 fans, the largest in the NBA since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fans will surely show up for Wednesday's game two with an added sense of urgency as their Knicks face the prospect of digging an 0-2 playoff hole at home.
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