Trae Young led the Atlanta Hawks to their highest-scoring half of the season
The All-NBA-caliber season continued for Trae Young (41 points, 8 assists) as the Atlanta Hawks (39-37) steamrolled the expansion-level Oklahoma City Thunder 136-118. This win puts the Hawks two games above .500 for the first time since Dec 1. It also keeps them just a half-game back of the Charlotte Hornets for the nine-seed and a chance to host a potential Play-In Tournament matchup.
Danilo Gallinari missed his second consecutive contest with an elbow contusion while Jalen Johnson joined him after entering concussion protocols.
Oklahoma City was missing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey among others.
There is a good chance they wouldn’t have changed this outcome as Young was obviously determined to make his mark on this one – he entered the night winless in the arena where his basketball journey began as a fan in the stands.
The Atlanta Hawks got a big night from Trae Young to roll the Thunder
This is Young’s 10th 40-point outing of the season, tying him for the league lead in such games with Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers. He also knocked down 11-of-12 free throws and dished out eight assists. His 30 points in the first half give him three such halves this season, the most in the NBA.
Atlanta scored a season-high 85 points in the first half, the second highest-scoring half in the league, and ended the night with a season-high 136-118 victory.
They scored 130-plus points in back-to-back games for the first time this year.
The Hawks led by 26 points through three quarters allowing them to get some much-needed rest for the starters in the fourth quarter with the Cleveland Cavaliers on tap for Thursday back at State Farm Arena.
Young “bounced back” from a 14-point, 16-assist (season-high) outing where he struggled to score but was setting his opponents up just fine as the numbers suggest.
It wasn’t the most exhaustive effort, he played just over 29 minutes, his fewest since Feb 16, and sat out the entire fourth quarter. This gives him two 40-points games in his last five tries and six 20-plus point performances in his last six. These kinds of runs have become the norm for Young this season.
He is the only player averaging at least 28.0 points and 9.0 assists this year and would do it for just the 14th time in league history at this rate becoming just the third player ever to do it multiple times.
No one has ever done it while shooting the three-ball at the 38-percent clip that he is this year.
In a season that has been up and down with health and on-court performance, Young has been an exciting constant most nights.