Trae Young Makes History with 56 Points, 14 Assists in Hawks' Loss to Trail Blazers

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 4, 2022

PORTLAND, OREGON - JANUARY 03: Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks reacts during the third quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center on January 03, 2022 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Trae Young did everything he could to lift the Atlanta Hawks to victory Monday night, but it wasn't enough as they suffered a 136-131 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Young dropped a career-high 56 points—the second 50-point game of his career—along with 14 assists to go with just four turnovers. He shot 17-of-26 from the floor and 7-of-12 from three.

According to the Hawks, no other player in NBA history has ever matched Young's numbers:

Atlanta Hawks @ATLHawks

The only player in NBA history to have 55+ points and 14+ assists in a single game 🥶<a href="https://twitter.com/TheTraeYoung?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheTraeYoung</a> x <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAAllStar?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NBAAllStar</a> <a href="https://t.co/7vgYHqHogM">pic.twitter.com/7vgYHqHogM</a>

The 2019-20 All-Star opened with 16 points and five dimes in the first quarter and didn't slow down from there. By the end, though, Atlanta's supporting cast was running out of steam. Young accounted for 15 of the Hawks' 26 points in the fourth quarter.

His performance caught the eye of Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant:

Ja Morant @JaMorant

damn trae 🥶 . a cold mf <a href="https://t.co/eiwVDdbzl8">https://t.co/eiwVDdbzl8</a>

But this probably isn't the company Young wanted to join:

Ben Dowsett @Ben_Dowsett

Trae Young just became the first player since Tiny Archibald in 1973, and just the second in NBA history, to post 50+ points and 14+ assists in a game his team did not win.

The result is also emblematic of a season that's falling well short of Atlanta's expectations. 

The Hawks rank 25th in defensive rating (112.3), per NBA.com, and their leaky defense was on full display. Not only did the Trail Blazers shoot 52.8 percent overall—18-of-41 on three-pointers—but they also did so without either Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum. Both stars were unavailable for non-COVID reasons.

Young's offensive contributions were somewhat undercut by the fact Anfernee Simons poured in 43 points on the other end of the court. He wasn't having much luck slowing Simons down, either.

NBA Fantasy @NBAFantasy

Anfernee Simons powers his way to the rack and ties a career-high with 37 points 💪<a href="https://twitter.com/trailblazers?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@trailblazers</a> lead with a few minutes remaining. <a href="https://t.co/W1YQ1j2kOf">pic.twitter.com/W1YQ1j2kOf</a>

At 16-20, the Hawks sit 12th in the Eastern Conference, 1.5 games behind the Toronto Raptors for the final play-in spot.

On the heels of reaching the conference finals last year, Young was candid when he said the regular season is "a lot more boring than the playoffs" and that emulating a postseason-like level of motivation night in, night out can be difficult.

Young certainly rose to the occasion Monday. The effort wasn't exactly there from the rest of the roster.