The Atlanta Hawks moved to 2-0 in the preseason with a convincing 118-109 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. While Bucks superstar and two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was inactive for this one, both teams were playing shorthanded with the Hawks missing Dejounte Murray and backup Bogdan Bogdanovic as well as promising forward Jalen Johnson.
They got strong performances from De’Andre Hunter and Onyeka Okongwu. Rookie AJ Griffin showed well too.
Clint Capela was also his usual steady self.
But the night belonged to Trae Young. With Murray out, Young did not have to cater his game to anyone else. He was able to remind everyone how he was able to lead the NBA in total assists and total points last season.
Trae Young speaks out on standout performance in Atlanta Hawks win
Young finished with a game-high 31 points, six assists, one rebound, one block, and one steal while turning the ball over just one time. He shot 73.3% from the floor and connected on 7-of-9 threes. What’s more, he was able to show off his entire array of ways to put the ball in the basket from floaters to logo threes.
After the game, Young took to Twitter to speak out on his going off in this second matchup with the Bucks in three days.
Young had 22 points, 3 assists, and two rebounds in the first game but went 0-for-4 from deep.
What’s most impressive is that Young was able to do what he did in the second matchup in under 20 minutes on the floor on 97% true shooting.
He was not the only one to celebrate going off against the Bucks. Murray also let it be known that he was still locked in despite sitting this one out with what head coach Nate McMillan called “back spasms”.
The Hawks’ next game will come on October 12 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Some pundits have elevated the Cavs over the Hawks citing the addition of Donovan Mitchell.
They seem to be dismissing the Hawks’ experience having gotten to the Eastern Conference Finals two years ago and are also adding an All-Star. Murray also complements Young better than Mitchell does Darius Garland in the Cavs’ backcourt. The Hawks also knocked the Cavs out of the Play-In Tournament last season.
Nothing can be settled until the games count.
But this Hawks team has a new level of focus this season. We will see if it can translate to the regular season and how far it can take them this season.