It was arguably the biggest moment of the whole season for the Atlanta Hawks. Game 1 of their first-round playoff series with the New York Knicks was tied at 105 with less than five seconds remaining. Trae Young dribbled around a perimeter double-team and darted toward the paint. As he arrived at the right elbow, only two players were in the lane: teammate Danilo Gallinari and Knicks big man Julius Randle.
Randle was already in a hopeless situation. Either he could stop the ball and give up an easy lob to Gallinari, or he could stay with him and give up an open look to one of the best young players in the league. He tried to split the difference. As Young entered the paint, Randle took a stand at the edge of the restricted area. But Young leaped off his left foot and let go of a game-winning floater that was both deadly and gorgeous.
Young's big shot quieted a raucous crowd at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, but it also served as a loud reminder that floaters are having a moment in the best basketball league in the world. Soft runners and teardrops are quickly increasing in both popularity and importance in the NBA.