If the Atlanta Hawks want to, they can win the championship.
At least that's what Trae Young believes.
"I think we can go as far as we want to," the Hawks guard told reporters after leading his team to a 116-113 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in Wednesday's Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. "I believe in this team, and we believe in each other."
Winning a title becomes much more realistic if Young continues to play like he did Wednesday.
He was brilliant on his way to 48 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds. He wasted no time finding the holes in Milwaukee's defense and attacking with a mix of floaters in the lane and outside shots when defenders backed up to cut off his driving path.
The result was 25 points by halftime, but he was arguably better in the second half while busting out a number of lobs to John Collins—one of which he threw off the backboard—and even throwing in a shoulder shimmy before he launched a wide-open three-pointer.
When it appeared the Bucks would finally pull away—up seven in the final five minutes behind the impressive play of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday—Young answered by setting up Collins for multiple baskets and hitting clutch free throws down the stretch.
That, along with a monster putback off an offensive rebound to give the Hawks the lead for good by Clint Capela, was enough to steal Game 1 on the road.
Atlanta was the secondary storyline to the raucous crowds at Madison Square Garden early in the first round until Young stole the show. It was the secondary storyline to the top-seeded Philadelphia 76ers trying to finally break through in the second round until Young stole the show. And he is already starting to steal the show from Antetokounmpo and the Bucks in the early going of the third round.
A trip to the NBA Finals is just three wins away as Young continues to ascend to superstar status in this postseason.