New York Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks: 3 matchups that will decide the series

Trae Young, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Trae Young, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /
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New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks.
Clint Capela, Knicks. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

New York Knicks vs. Atlanta Hawks: New York must survive Clint Capela

It’s been something that has flown under the radar to an extent, but the New York Knicks are not a good offensive rebounding team.

Mitchell Robinson was a 1-man wrecking crew on the boards, and their offensive rebounding numbers have plummeted without him. New York is 28th in the league in that category since April 1st. 

Again, this is the playoffs where scrappy, non-memorable plays can decide the course of a game. There have already been a few games this season where offensive rebounding has killed the Knicks in a game where they would lose by just 1 or 2 points.

Even easier to forget are some of the games that they’ve won where rebounding almost ruined the game. I can think of a few games during the Knicks’ 9 game win streak that should have been comfortable victories but ended up being nail-biters due to getting obliterated on the boards.

The Atlanta Hawks have the best rebounder in the NBA in Clint Capela.

Nerlens Noel and Taj Gibson will make you work to fight for every rebound, but they don’t have anywhere near the athleticism that Capela does. New York is going to have to scratch and claw for every board. It may be enough.

There could be a game in this series where the New York Knicks played smothering defense, hit difficult shots, but ultimately lose the game because they never scored any 2nd chance points.

The focus will be on the stars, but it could be a Taj Gibson Box-out or a Clint Capela offensive rebound that decides the game.

Whatever the pivotal points of this series may be, we are only scratching the surface of how many players and matchups will play a big role in this tightly contested series. This one could easily go 7 games.

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