Trae Young has once again shown that he’s as tough as they come, particularly when it’s playing in front of a hostile NBA home crowd. Much like he trolled New York Knicks fans in last year’s playoffs, “Ice Trae” was back to his villainous best against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After the final buzzer sounded, signaling the Atlanta Hawks’ entry to the postseason, Young did his patented “bye-bye” to the stunned crowd.
The All-Star point guard’s sizzling second-half pushed Atlanta back into the postseason at the expense of the young and emerging Cavaliers.
The 23-year-old point guard started a little flat, which helped give the Cleveland Cavaliers an early 10-point lead at halftime. With elimination staring them in the face, “Ice Trae” turned up the heat in the third quarter, where he dropped 16 points.
Atlanta’s big third quarter enabled them to tie Cleveland entering the fourth canto at 84-all. Young would continue his hot shooting, finishing with another 16 points to nearly outscore the entire Cavaliers’ lineup.
Cleveland’s inexperienced crew seemed to wilt from the pressure and the scorching-hot exploits of the Hawks’ diminutive point guard.
Young exploded for 32 of his 38 points in the second half to drag the undermanned Hawks to the win. As he has shown for much of his career, he seems to relish the big moments, especially on the road.
Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks set a date against the top-seeded Miami Heat in the first round
As a reward for winning back-to-back elimination games, the Atlanta Hawks will enter the playoffs as the eighth seed. They now have an unenviable matchup against the Miami Heat.
Atlanta had a disappointing regular season after reaching last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, but it seems like they’re finding their groove at the right time.
Adding more trouble for the Atlanta Hawks was Clint Capela’s injury. The Hawks made it to the East Finals last year without the prolific big man and may need to do so again versus the bruising Heat.
Capela could miss at least a few games, so the entire Atlanta roster will have to make up for his absence.
Like last year, Trae Young could be forced to look for his shots more often since Capela’s threat as a lob partner and putback scorer is underrated.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Atlanta Hawks handle their handicap against an experienced and healthy Miami Heat.