Trae Young sounds off on key to Atlanta Hawks’ success

Atlanta Hawks, Trae Young. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Hawks, Trae Young. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports /

In hindsight, the Atlanta Hawks’ (19-21) daunting West Coast road trip went about as well as any team ever hopes for away from their home gym. The Hawks went 2-2 which, given all of the drama that has surrounded the team over the last few weeks, is a solid effort. Perhaps this challenge will go a long way toward galvanizing the group.

The Hawks have lost several leads this season, many of them in the fourth quarter. For them to not only come back from a late deficit but to hold on for the win – on the road no less – is something they can hang their hats on going forward.

To this point, it has cost them some ground in the Eastern Conference standings, dropping them to 10th.

Star guard Trae Young knows what changed this time and how can it be applied going forward.

Atlanta Hawks must learn to ‘weather the storm’ of adversity, says Trae Young

“Just not getting out heads too down,” Young told Bally Sports Hawks reporter Lauren Jbara. “In the NBA teams going to make runs. We’re going to make our runs too. It’s just trying to weather the storm on their runs and then finishing the game out when we got it.”

Young did just that scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter including the Hawk’s final six points finishing with 30 points for the game along with eight assists three of which also came in the final frame. The polarizing point guard scored or assisted on 20 of the Hawks’ 27 fourth-quarter points including the game-winner.

“It’s just making the right reads,” Young said of the difference down the stretch of this game. “I just got to do a good job of getting my teammates involved. And then, in the fourth quarter, it’s up to me and [Dejounte Murray] to get a good shot every possession and try to finish the game. I’m just glad we got the win, that’s the most important part.”

Atlanta has won two of their last three outings, a welcome sight coming off a four-game losing streak that seemed to compound inner turmoil. They have had to deal with reports of lingering tension between Young and head coach Nate McMillan.

McMillan has also had to combat rumors that he considered stepping down this season.

But the Hawks skipper was still just as happy to see his team go out and gut out a win after once again letting a big advantage slip away (17 points this time).

“Our guys came out and they wanted to finish this road trip .500,” McMillan said postgame. “We talked about that in our last game. We still had the opportunity to make this a successful road trip. And I thought they came out focused and played solid basketball from start to finish…I thought we stayed with it.”

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McMillan echoed Young’s sentiments of the Hawks withstanding the Clippers’ run in the fourth quarter saying they made plays “when we needed them”.

There was also praise for his star guard’s closing effort.

“He did a good job of getting us into our sets, looking to attack, and closing,” McMillan said. “A guy like that, he’s really one of our closers and we’re going to put the ball in his hands and allow him to make decisions and I thought tonight he made some good reads and he was able to finish.”

Atlanta moved to 9-10 in clutch games (within five points in the final five minutes) with the win.

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The Hawks (and fans) can only hope this continues and they can get themselves back into the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race.