He wasn’t trying to put up gaudy point totals nor was he forced into dribbling out the clock in an effort to get himself going.
“I was really focused on tonight and making sure we won,” Young told reporters via the Hawks’ official YouTube channel following the Hawks’ 116-105 victory on April 11. “I know Jimmy [Butler] guaranteed a dub so I was really focused on making sure that didn’t happen.”
Young shook off some previous demons tying his season-high against Miami with 25 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists versus a team that had previously had the Hawks’ number, winning three of four meetings in the regular season. His eight rebounds would be his high this season if Play-In stats counted toward the regular or postseason.
Butler was not so much taking a direct shot at Atlanta as he was looking right past them in comments following a recent shootaround.
Still, it’s not hard to imagine the Hawks took it as a slight.
“I’m going to do whatever it takes for my team to win night in and night out,” Butler told reporters, per David Lang of Local10.com on April 10. “As I take on tomorrow’s matchup and we get that win, we’ll worry about what goes on down the line, but I think I’ll be a decent basketball player at the end of the day.”
For his part, Butler poured in 21 points adding nine assists, four rebounds, two steals, and one block. He was also adamant in his postgame that there was more the Heat could have done on Young.
Butler also noted the Hawks’ 63-39 advantage on the glass and 26-6 edge in second-chance points.
“I don’t think we were as physical as we were supposed to be in making his decisions very hard,” Butler said of Young’s performance, per Kevin Chouinard of NBA.com. “He’s a hell of a player. He makes all the right reads. Obviously, he’s a big-time shotmaker…He even got even rebounds.”
Atlanta also outscored Miami 64-46 in the paint. They will now head to Boston to face the Celtics as the seven-seed on April 15.
“Boston is a really good team but I haven’t really looked too far ahead,” Young said noting his focus on the task at hand to the gaggle of reporters in Miami. “Obviously, I’ve watched them all year. They’ve been playing really well.”
The Hawks went 0-for-3 against the Cs in the regular season.
Atlanta Hawks push back on Trae Young trade rumors
There have been an increasing number of trade rumors involving Young in which either he or the Hawks front office is set to seek a divorce. Young spoke with The Athletic (subscription required) following a recent shootaround neither confirming nor denying the rumors.
“It could be false, could Be true,” Young said of the rumors. “You Never Know.”
Despite his coyness, the Hawks star is very much in the loop, according to Jared Greenberg of TNT who reported on the matter before the game.
This is in line with statements from owner Tony Ressler – whose comments about empowering general manager Landry Fields and his staff have been misconstrued as they are looking to move on from the 24-year-old star point guard. Ressler has said he is a fan of Young while Fields laid out where the Hawks want to see Young improve.
It seems far more likely they give him more time to show and prove that before making such a rash decision.
Likewise, he has taken to head coach Quin Snyder’s style.
“Quin just brings a different speed,” said Young. “And he’s so smart as far as getting guys shots and making it easy for guys on the offensive end. And just so detailed at what he brings to our team and just makes it easier for us to go out there and do our jobs and not necessarily think too much. He’s done a great job. Obviously, we’re not perfect and where we want to be and where we will be. But he’s done a great job with that.”
This is a partnership that needs more time rather than a hasty and potentially costly decision should Young go on to fulfill his immense talent.