If the Knicks needed any added motivation beyond avoiding elimination, Clint Capela provided it on Tuesday.
The Hawks’ center basically called the Knicks and Julius Randle dirty, accused them of not playing the right way and labeled their attempts to be physical as unsuccessful.
“They try to play tough, push our guys around, talk s–t, but we can do that, too,” he said over Zoom on the eve of Wednesday’s Game 5 at the Garden. “We show them as soon as they come back here. We can push guys around, talk s–t and get the win, too.”
He then directly began talking directly to the Knicks like he was cutting a WWE promo.
“What [are] you going to do about it? We can be physical, but we can win games as well, and now we’re coming to your home to win this game again,” he said. “And send you on vacation.”
Capela saved his most biting criticism for Randle, who has struggled in the series as the Knicks have fallen behind, 3-1, to the Hawks. Late in the Hawks Game 4 rout, Randle was assessed a flagrant foul for grabbing Danilo Gallinari and shoving him after the whistle. Randle said it was retaliation for Gallinari hitting Reggie Bullock in the neck on a prior possession.
“You’re trying to look physical, but it’s not working. It’s the last solution,” Capela said.
“You don’t get your star player making dirty plays. Of course that was a dirty play, retaliation or not. … We all can shove someone. You can play hard but within the game.”