35 points and 11 assists was the final box score for Trae Young as the Hawks beat the Cavs 133-111. This gets Young on a list next to Steph Curry as the best box score a rookie has made in a game since 2010.
This will be a significant confidence boost for Young who will be compared with Dončić this entire season, and who most are already labeling a lesser player. Point guards are the slowest to develop, and patience is needed to help them adjust to the NBA game. Young is in a perfect position in that regard as the Hawks are in tank mode this year and can afford to let him play through his mistakes, which are bound to happen.
Still, this game was not one of those nights as Young showcased the ceiling (and the roof, which are sometimes the same thing #23) in his game, scoring six threes from all over the court. On nights when he is hot from behind the arc, there is room to work for the entire team. Young showed off his basketball IQ as well, using his good shooting night to bait defensive players (mostly Colin Sexton) into reacting to his fakes and going to the rim.
Kent Bazemore had words of praise for his rookie teammate (via ESPN): “Trae is fearless. Even in the practices earlier in the summer, he came in and established himself right away. That’s what you have to respect: a young guy that comes in, he’s not bashful, he’s not shy and who has that kind of caliber talent. He’s going to have ups and downs. I’m proud of him as a teammate.”
Both Young and Lloyd pierce received an ice bath after the game. This was Pierce’s first win as an NBA head coach, so there was more than one reason to celebrate in the locker room tonight. The Hawks have a difficult season ahead of them as the betting houses had their over/under around 23.5 marking them as the worst team in the league, so moments like these mean a lot to a young rebuilding team.
Hawks next game is against the Mavs, a head to head between players who will be compared for a long time in their career. Must watch TV!