Trae Young’s latest Broadway show was a flop.
Attempting to play up his villain status Wednesday at MSG, Trae Young wore sneakers in Knicks colors with the following message stitched into the back: “King Of Broadway.”
It was a bold statement but Young failed to back it up against the Knicks, who used Quentin Grimes to frustrate the Hawks point guard in New York’s dominating 113-89 victory.
Julius Randle represented the offensive hero with 34 points and 17 rebounds, but Grimes was the two-way standout and catalyst to the Knicks’ best two-game stretch of the season (Grimes also locked down Donovan Mitchell in Sunday’s win over the Cavs).
With Grimes as his shadow and the Knicks plugging driving lanes, Young produced just 19 points with four turnovers in 30 minutes. He struggled without his two best teammates available due to injuries — Dejounte Murray and John Collins — as the Knicks (12-13) held an opponent to under 90 points for a second straight game.
Grimes not only stifled Young, he outscored the All-Star with 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting.
The Knicks continued to employ a nine-man rotation, with Derrick Rose and Cam Reddish logging second straight DNPs.
It means more time for Grimes and a steady role for Miles McBride, who logged a season-high 27 minutes Wednesday.
“I’m taking it head-on. I’m not scared of any opportunity,” McBride said. “I’m gonna attack each challenge like I always have.”
With his new rotation, Tom Thibodeau, who carries a reputation of leaning too hard on veterans, isn’t playing anybody over 28 years old.
“You guys probably get wrapped up in that more than I do,” Thibodeau said. “I know it’s trendy in the league. To me whether you’re young or old, doesn’t really matter. It’s how does it fit together, how does it work together, can we get out there and play hard and smart and together?
“Those are the things that you want to evaluate. I like how our young guys work. I knew when we got them from the very first day, you could see it. You could see it in practice. You could see how they approach things. You could see how competitive they are. So usually those are the characteristics that drive achievement, when you look at how competitive a guy is. What’s their work ethic like? What’s their toughness like? What’s their mental quickness like? You look at all those intangibles. What are the things that drive achievement? And they fit the bill.”
Young, who famously took a Broadway Bow at MSG’s center court after eliminating the Knicks in the 2021 playoffs, was largely ignored by the Garden crowd.
There were occasional boos but neither chants nor expletives. MSG has been more subdued and less enthusiastic this season as the team searches for identity.
Plus, Young gave them little reason to hate on Wednesday.
Obi Toppin left the game with a sore right knee. …The Knicks benefitted from Atlanta’s misfortune. Early in the first quarter, Murray sprained his ankle by landing on RJ Barrett’s foot. Murray, who torched the Knicks in the previous matchup at MSG, played just four minutes Wednesday. Barrett was assessed a flagrant foul for crowding Murray’s landing space.