Trae Young, Hawks Receive Reality Check in Game 1 Loss to HeatApril 17, 2022
"Ice Trae" went ice cold Sunday.
Trae Young's 32 second-half points were pivotal in the Atlanta Hawks' play-in tournament victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers to secure the No. 8 seed. As the Hawks opened the first round of the 2022 NBA playoffs, that player was noticeably absent.
Young finished 1-of-12 from the field for eight points, six rebounds and four assists in a 115-91 defeat to the top-seeded Miami Heat.
To a degree, it was such an outlier that you can't draw too many conclusions. There aren't going to be many other occasions when Young goes 0-of-7 from beyond the arc.
But Game 1 also set a tone for the rest of the series. The Heat finished fourth in defensive rating (108.4) in the regular season, per NBA.com, and they plan to make Young's life a nightmare on the court.
Jimmy Butler briefly squared off with the 6'1" guard in the first quarter, with tempers quickly simmering down.
Every time Young had the ball, he was closely shadowed by at least one Miami defender.
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Kyle Lowry picked Trae Young's pocket and got it to Max Strus for the 𝙨𝙡𝙖𝙢 😤<a href="https://twitter.com/MiamiHEAT?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MiamiHEAT</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HEATCulture?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HEATCulture</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WhiteHot?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WhiteHot</a> ⚪🔥 <a href="https://t.co/YRjaYbBcLl">pic.twitter.com/YRjaYbBcLl</a>
Young is too good of a scorer to keep this up. There will be an inevitable adjustment, even against an opponent as strong on defense as the Heat.
The Hawks' worries will extend beyond Young's offensive contributions—or lack thereof—in Game 1, though. His liabilities as a defender are something Miami will continue to exploit.
Brad Botkin @bradbotkincbs
And if he's not dominating on offense, this becomes insurmountable. It's hard to believe some of the lack of effort from Trae in a playoff game. Watched him sit on the floor for maybe three seconds while Herro jogged the other way unguarded for a floater. Pretty unacceptable
The Minnesota Timberwolves' 130-117 win over the Memphis Grizzlies showed how advancing through the play-in tournament can cement the rise of a budding young squad.
In the Hawks' case, taking down the Cavaliers and Charlotte Hornets couldn't mask what were glaring issues in the regular season. Atlanta looked a lot like the team with the ninth-best record in the Eastern Conference on Sunday.