Hawks star Trae Young fine being considered a villain at MSG
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) and the rest of team celebrate after Game 1 in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Madison Square Garden.  Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Hawks star Trae Young comfortable being considered a villain at Madison Square Garden

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young played in his first career playoff game on Sunday night. He did not disappoint. 

As boos reigned down from the rafters at Madison Square Garden, Young hit the game-winning shot with less than one second remaining to give the Hawks a 107-105 win over the New York Knicks in Game 1 of their first-round series.

After the game, Young said he was expecting to hear "F-you chants" from the crowd, adding that he's comfortable being considered a villain in New York. 

"I definitely know the history of players coming in here and being hated," Young said, according to ESPN's Andrew Lopez. "Like I said, I take that as a compliment to be honest with you. Obviously I'm doing something right if you hate me that much. I embrace it and try to focus on my team and trying to help my team win. At the end of the day, we'll get the last laugh if we do that."

Young finished the game with 32 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. According to ESPN Stats and Information, LeBron James is the only other player with 30 points, 10 assists and five rebounds in their postseason debut.

The 22-year-old also became the first player to record 30 points and 10 assists in a playoff game at MSG since Michael Jordan did so in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals in 1989.

Young has been a star since breaking onto the scene in 2018. In just his third season in the NBA, he has the Hawks back in the postseason for the first time since the 2016-17 campaign. 

Even though he was excited about the Game 1 win, Young knows there's still a lot of work left to be done, and it won't be easy to come out of MSG with another victory. 

"I'm truly blessed to be in this position," Young said. "But I know the work's not done yet. It's just one game. Enjoy this win tonight for it being my first win, first game in the playoffs. But we gotta get back at it tomorrow."

Erin Walsh is a Boston sports fan through and through. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bridgewater State University and currently is in pursuit of her Master's Degree in Journalism from Northeastern University. Follow her on Twitter @ewalsh90.

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