The Atlanta Hawks got a surprisingly hard-fought win over the San Antonio Spurs and it essentially came down to a fourth-quarter, clutch defensive play by Trae Young.
“Trae Young taking a charge at the end of the game, it’s a big-time play,” head coach Quin Snyder said via Bally Sports on November 30. “We talk about defense with our team. … If there’s a commitment like that – it was just a hell of a play by Trae. It overshadowed what was a stellar offensive night.”
Young dropped a season-high 45 points, logging 33 points after halftime. After struggling to his 12 first-half points (4-for-13 FG, 0-for-3 3P), Young shot 11-for-16 from the floor in the second half, knocking down 2-of-4 triples.
He notched 13 points and six of his 14 assists in the fourth quarter alone.
“That’s a play – and Clint had one too – so we need to celebrate those plays as a team,” Snyder said. “And it’s obviously nice that it resulted in a win too.”
With the Hawks nursing a two-point lead, Spurs point forward Jeremy Sochan stole the ball on a pass by Saddiq Bey. Sochan raced down to the other end of the court to an awaiting Young who stood tall outside the restricted area, drawing the game-ending turnover via charge.
“[The charges taken] say a lot,” Snyder said. “One: you have to be in the right place from a help standpoint. So It’s indicative of being aware within a team concept. And then, you’re sacrificing your body; someone’s running into you.”
Young – listed at 6-foot-1 and 164 pounds – disproved some misconceptions on that play.
Trae Young explains game-winning play after Hawks beat Spurs
“I was supposed to break open again like I did the possession before in the backcourt and try to catch the ball and try to run some clock out and get fouled again,” he told Tabitha Turner of Bally Sports during his walk-off interview. “But they kind of doubled me on the out-of-bounds [play]. And then, they got the steal and I was the only one back. Just tried to make a play. I gotta make a play for my team and, that’s what’s gonna happen.”
It’s not just charges, either. Young’s three charges drawn are tied with 12 others for the seventh-most in the NBA.
His 51 deflections are tied with three other players for the eighth most in the league. It’s all part of a renewed emphasis on defense this season from the point guard who is undersized by today's NBA standards.