Trae Young: Hawks Will Struggle If Refs Let Heat 'Be as Physical as They Are'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVApril 20, 2022

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 19: Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks looks on during the game against the Miami Heat during Round 1 Game 2 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs on April 19, 2022 at FTX Arena in Miami, Florida. 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 Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks are down 2-0 to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference first-round matchup after Tuesday's 115-105 loss.

After the game, Trae Young blamed the officiating, in part, for Atlanta's deficit in the series. 

 "Obviously, we felt we let one slip away, but if the refs are going to let them be as physical as they are and not call fouls, it is going to be hard to really do anything anyway," he told reporters

Young said the Hawks need to regroup, however. 

"It's tough. Obviously we felt like we let one slide, but you can't let it linger too far," he said. "We've got another game in a couple of days."

Bally Sports: Hawks @HawksOnBally

Disappointed with the outcome but ready to regroup. <a href="https://t.co/msPBAXgPav">pic.twitter.com/msPBAXgPav</a>

The Hawks got to the line just 14 times on Tuesday, making 11 of their free throws, while the Heat shot 25-of-29 from the charity stripe. But the fouls were almost even, with Atlanta called for 26 compared to Miami's 24. And the Hawks held a significant free-throw advantage (27-18) in Game 1. 

"I thought he got a lot of calls tonight," Heat guard Gabe Vincent told reporters regarding Young. 

The bigger issue for the Hawks is that Young has struggled in both contests. In Game 1, he finished just 1-of-12 from the field for eight points. He also turned the ball over six times with only four assists.

His shot was on in Game 2, as he finished 10-of-20 from the field for 25 points. But his turnovers again killed Atlanta, as he gave the ball away 10 times with just seven assists. Miami's physical, swarming defense has clearly bothered him in the series. 

"You can't have 19 turnovers in a playoff game and expect to win," Atlanta head coach Nate McMillan told reporters after the loss. 

A more aggressive whistle would benefit a finesse player like Young against Miami's switch-heavy defense. But Young can't rely on that, and if he doesn't make his own adjustments, Atlanta won't be in the postseason much longer.