The Indiana Pacers delivered a great performance on Sunday to take a 3-1 lead against the New York Knicks but head coach Nate McMillan and star guard Trae Young underlined that the next game will be the hardest one of the series.
The Hawks beat the Knicks 113-96 in Game 4 to take a 3-1 lead and the next game will be played at Madison Square Garden. The Hawks won Game 1 of the series after a Young game-winner, while the Knicks took Game 2. The Hawks then returned home and defended their home court as they earned two wins on their home floor.
"As I told our guys, this game will be the hardest game of the series to close a team out," McMillan said, per ESPN. "We know they're gonna come and they're gonna fight. This will be the hardest game of the series.
I expect it to be physical. I expect both teams to come with urgency in this next game."
Young insists the Hawks are fully focused
Young scored a game-high 27 points on Sunday against the Knicks and also had nine assists.
"I just be trying to keep it basketball," Young said. "I don't care if they are in their feelings or who's mad and who's not. It's just basketball at the end of the day. We're just trying to win.
All the extra stuff, it is what it is. We're locked in. We're focused on us and we're trying to win a game." Hawks big man John Collins had 22 points and eight rebounds. "You play a team so many times, things are going to happen," Collins said.
"I feel like at the end, guys really aren't going to like each other too much on top of New York playing a physical style of basketball. Obviously, we're going to get tired of pushed around and hit and whatnot.
It is what it is in a sense, guys are competing. It's playoff basketball. We just try to avoid the noise and handle business." Young expects the Knicks to enter Game 4 fully motivated and locked in. "Obviously, the last one is the toughest.
The last one to get is going to be the toughest," Young said. "We're know they're probably going to be a little more physical, a little more aggressive, play with a lot more energy. But for us, we gotta do the same thing. We can't just be complacent with what we've done at home. We gotta bring even more energy on the road."