Trae Young Responds to Nate McMillan Saying Hawks Were 'Emotionally Drunk' vs. Lakers

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 30, 2022

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 30: Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks looks on during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers on January 30, 2022 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.  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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Atlanta Hawks came alive in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 129-121 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, but head coach Nate McMillan was concerned with how they played before winning the final period by 18 points.

McMillan told reporters Atlanta was "emotionally drunk" at times during the contest before it calmed down at winning time.

For his part, Trae Young pointed to the officiating and said, "When Tony Brothers mentions to me how many years he's reffed in this league, I don't give a damn. That just gets fired me up. I don't think I'm emotionally drunk. I'm just competitive. It brings the best out of me and my teammates."

Young was issued a technical foul during the second quarter, though he finished with 36 points, 12 assists and five rebounds in the win.

He also took over in crunch time with a go-ahead three-pointer with just more than six minutes remaining before he scored eight points in the final three minutes. It wasn't a one-man show, though, as John Collins notched a double-double of 20 points and 11 boards as one of five Hawks to score in double figures.

Frankly, it was a game the Hawks should have won.

They were at home against a Lakers squad that was missing LeBron James. Los Angeles has struggled to live up to expectations with James this season, so it is particularly vulnerable without its star player on the floor.

The Lakers fell to 24-27 overall and 3-8 in the last 11 games as they continue to tumble down the Western Conference standings as a flawed team that will likely need James and Anthony Davis to play at an unreal level to challenge the best teams in the league come playoff time.

Perhaps McMillan saw an opportunity to notch a straightforward win against a LeBron-less club and grew frustrated with his team's showing until it took over down the stretch. It is also notable Young mentioned an official by name, which likely won't earn him many calls the next time Brothers works a Hawks game.

Ultimately, Atlanta improved to 24-25 with its seventh consecutive victory. It may not reach the Eastern Conference Finals again this season, but the version that has been on the floor lately could challenge some of the top seeds in a series.

That is, only if the players aren't "emotionally drunk" during the games.