Hawks fans kept it lively and clean in win over Knicks

ATLANTA — State Farm Arena didn’t work blue in Game 3.

Hawks fans kept it clean and lively Friday night, as they watched their home team dominate the Knicks from the second quarter on, taking a 105-94 win and a 2-1 series lead in this best-of seven first-round matchup.

“NEW YORK SUCKS!” was about as angry as they got, and compared to the vulgar love songs Madison Square Garden’s fans aimed at Trae Young, that was almost like a ballad to the Knicks.

They allowed 15,743 fans in the building, 92 percent capacity, and the crowd got it loud early and kept it loud through most of the night. And mostly, they kept it very innocent.

Atlanta fans were  loud, but kept it clean during the Hawks' 105-94 Game 3 win over the Knicks.
Atlanta fans were loud, but kept it clean during the Hawks’ 105-94 Game 3 win over the Knicks.

Mostly, they cheered for their players using the same sing-song method as the Bleacher Creatures at Yankee Stadium.

Mostly, they chanted “A! T! L!” a lot, turning the city’s preferred abbreviation into a war oath.

The closest they came to trying to inhabit a Knicks’ head was Julius Randle. There were dozens of chants of “Overrated!” — and Randle offered plenty of openings by shooting 2-for-15 and playing a mostly uninspired game. They also tried the old Palestra trick of booing Randle for a time whenever he got the ball, although that didn’t last all night.

Lastly, there were placards and signs distributed by the Hawks that had the message in black and white: “OVERRATED.”

“A good, enthusiastic crowd,” Randle said, though none of the Knicks were willing to say the fans played any role in their long, desultory night.

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