clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Clint Capela’s trash talk makes the Hawks-Knicks series even more fun

Capela said the Hawks are coming to send the Knicks ‘on vacation’ with a 3-1 lead in their first round playoff series.

New York Knicks v Atlanta Hawks - Game Three Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The New York Knicks and Atlanta Hawks have played one of the most intense series in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. The series began with a charged atmosphere inside Madison Square Garden as Knicks fans greeted Hawks star Trae Young with chants that ranged from explicit to creative. Young has responded with his own trash talk while carrying his team to a 3-1 series lead that has put the Knicks on the brink of elimination heading into Wednesday’s Game 5.

Atlanta center Clint Capela poured some more fuel on the fire during his press availability on Tuesday ahead of Game 5. When asked about New York’s physical play in the series, Capela said “We can be physical, but we can win games as well. Now we’re coming to your home to win this game again and send you on vacation.”

Here’s the full quote from Capela:

Here are Capela’s comments, transcribed:

Capela was also asked about a flagrant foul called on Knicks star Julius Randle at the end of Game 4 with the game already out of reach for New York. Capela called it a dirty play, and said “That’s not how you play hard.”

Here’s video of the play. Randle said this play was in retaliation to Gallinari elbowing Knicks wing Reggie Bullock earlier in the game.

Hey Julius Randle, what do you think of Capela’s tough talk?

Capela has had a tremendous season for the Hawks in his first full year with the team, and has been one of the biggest reasons for the franchise’s turnaround. The 26-year-old center has put himself in position to be named to the NBA All-Defensive team this season by anchoring Atlanta’s defense in the paint and providing the type of rim protection the Hawks badly lacked last year. Capela is only averaging nine points per game during the first four games of the series against the Knicks, but he’s left a notable impact on the glass and the defensive end.

The threat of Young’s lobs to Capela have been the foundation of the Atlanta offense all season.

Capela has even broken out the Dikembe Mutombo finger wave during this series as an ode to the former Hawks star. Despite the fact that few people would give either the Hawks or the Knicks a chance to even make the conference finals, this series has been great because both teams have been starved for recent playoff success and truly believe they could win the matchup. So far, it’s been the Hawks who are imposing their will.

The intensity of the series has gotten ugly at times. A Knicks fan spit at Trae Young, which is disgusting and unacceptable. The fan was banned from Madison Square Garden. Knicks fans have also chanted “f*** Trae Young” and then “Trae Young is balding” throughout the series. Young has been sensational from the start, providing a definitive answer to critics who said his game couldn’t stand up to the pressure of the postseason.

For as good as the Hawks have been in this series, it won’t be easy to close it out in New York against a Knicks team fighting for its season and another hostile crowd. Capela just gave the Knicks more bulletin board material. This series will be must-see until the very end.