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Trae Young, John Collins Dominant as Hawks Beat Timberwolves in OT

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2019

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 27: Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks drives to the basket against the Minnesota Timberwolves on February 27, 2019 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 2019 NBAE (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks have no chance of making the playoffs themselves, but they can play the spoiler.

Trae Young had 36 points and 10 assists while John Collins added 34 points and eight rebounds, leading the Hawks to a 131-123 overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday.

The Wolves had come in winners of four of their last five games, unseating the Los Angeles Lakers from the 10th spot in the West and putting themselves within striking distance of the eighth-seeded San Antonio Spurs.

Karl-Anthony Towns led the way with 37 points and 17 rebounds for the Wolves. Towns has been on a tear since returning from a concussion, putting up 71 points and 38 boards over the last two games.

The Wolves led for the majority of regulation, but a Collins and Young spearheaded a comeback that ultimately forced overtime. DeAndre' Bembry took over in the extra period, scoring six of the Hawks' 13 points. Bembry finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds off the bench.

     

Trae Young Has Broken Out of Doncic Trade Shadow

Player A: 23.3 PPG, 9.3 APG, 4.3 RPG, 41.0 FG%, 43.7 3PT%

Player B: 24.1 PPG, 9.3 RPG, 7.4 APG, 42.7 FG%, 36.1 3PT%

You'd obviously take Player B. He does a little bit of everything and is shooting at a high enough clip from three that the separation between the two doesn't sway things toward Player A.

But there isn't a real chasm between the two players. If you were to say you'd want Player A over the long term over Player B, it might not be a bold statement.

Of course, Player A is Young in February and Player B is Luka Doncic. After struggling mightily for his first three months in an NBA uniform, Young has finally started coming into his own over the last two. He's been borderline Oklahoma Trae at points, and the shot finally starting to drop has done absolute wonders for his already-stellar passing skills.

Young will probably never escape the shadow of the Doncic trade. The Hawks passed on what looks to be a foundational superstar for a guy who might top out at "pretty good" at the league's deepest position.

Over the last month, Young's shown just how good his "pretty good" can be. There's no player outside Stephen Curry more confident in pulling up off the dribble once he gets past half court. That forces his defender to pick him up early, allows the Hawks to get into their offensive actions with more space and sometimes gives Young that ever-so-slight pocket he needs to make a pass.

The Hawks also know they have a gunner unafraid of the late-game spotlight. Both of their shots in the last minute of regulation were a result of Young controlling the game; he set up Collins with a dunk and then hit a floater with 20.6 seconds remaining to knot up the game at 118.

Young is the first rookie since Allen Iverson to record back-to-back 35-point games, per Michael C. Wright of ESPN. Not bad company to keep.

The Mavs got the crown jewel of the 2018 draft. Not even Young's staunchest supporters will deny that.

But it's looking increasingly like Young's future is far closer to Damian Lillard-level stardom than the bust he appeared to be his first couple of NBA months.

     

What's Next?

The Timberwolves continue their Eastern road trip with a game Thursday against the Indiana Pacers. The Hawks host the Chicago Bulls on Friday.

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