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Atlanta Hawks’ Clint Capela downplays Knicks’ toughness, looking to send New York ‘on vacation’


(NEW YORK) — New York tough? Not so much, says Atlanta Hawks center Clint Capela.

With Atlanta leading the New York Knicks 3-1 in their first-round playoff series, Capela was asked on Tuesday about the physical style of play the Knicks have exhibited.

“I don’t know if they’re physical,” Capela said, “but they’re trying to play physical.”

“I feel like if they were really physical, we’d have more problems than we have,” he continued. “I feel like they’re trying to, but it’s not working.”

The Knicks led the NBA defensively during the regular season, allowing just 104.7 points per game. In the first four games of the series, they’ve held the Hawks to just 104.3 points per game, but New York’s offense has fallen off from 107 points per game in the regular season to 99.

The foul disparity between the teams also indicates that Atlanta has largely matched New York’s intensity.

“They’re trying to play tough,” Capela said, when asked what he meant about the Knicks not actually playing a physical style of basketball. “Push our guys around, talk s***, but we can do that too.”

“We showed them as soon as they came back here [to Atlanta for Games Three and Four, both Hawks wins], that we can push guys around, too. We can talk s*** as well. So whatcha gonna do about it?”

Game Five between the teams is set for Wednesday, with the Knicks returning home to Madison Square Garden one game from elimination.

“Now we’re coming to your home to win this game again,” Capela said, “to send you on vacation.”

Still, Hawks head coach Nate McMillan said on Sunday, after his team won Game Four, that the series was far from over.

“As I told our guys,” he said, “this game [Game Five] will be the hardest game of the series to close a team out. We know they’re gonna come and they’re gonna fight.”

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