State Farm Arena- In his second full year in the NBA Trae Young is starting to figure things out early in his career. When the game is close, he wants the ball in his hands.
He knows he’s expected to be Atlanta’s big-time player.
Young scored 39 points including Atlanta’s last eight, continuing his blazing momentum with the Hawks beating the Orlando Magic 103-99 on Saturday night. Young hacked out nine assists along with seven boards.
Orlando didn’t have an answer for the second-year point guard.
When asked how he took over the game in the final minutes, Young said: “That’s what makes big-time players what they are. They step up in big moments.”
Young had 38 points in Atlanta’s season-opening win at Detroit putting the team on his back in the second half of the game. When the Hawks needed to score they drew up plays for the hot-handed Young.
After Orlando took the lead 96-95, Young’s reverse layup gave the Hawks back the drive following a tying free throw by Aaron Gordon but Young wasn’t finished for the night.
He hit a long 3-pointer giving Atlanta some breathing room at 102-97 with 25 seconds remaining on the clock. He celebrated with a shimmy shake toward the end of the court.
“He’s clutch, man,” Hawks forward John Collins said. “He just has that clutch gene. Guys like him take the shots down the stretch and just expect them to go in.”
Orlando tried to defend at half-court but Young had an answer for every defensive alignment and just picked his spots on the court against the Magic.
“I tried to stay in front and make him shoot over the top of me. You just have to pat him on the butt and say good shot.” Markelle Fultz said.
Young’s 38 points against Detroit were the most in a season opener since Dominique Wilkins’ 39 against the Nets in 1986. Young led NBA rookies last season with nine 30-point games and now with two already this season.
“Whatever it takes,” Young said. “I’m just glad we’re winning.”
In the matchup of the two-point guards, Young had 17 first-half points. Fultz finished with 12 points in the contest.
Evan Fournier led the Magic with 23 points. Nikola Vucevic had 16 points and 10 rebounds. D.J. Augustin added 14 points.
“You can’t win an NBA game shooting 17% from the 3.” Magic coach Steve Clifford said.
The Hawks’ 9-2 run to open the second half included Young’s back-to-back baskets. He added a steal of Gordon’s pass and a 3-pointer for a 61-52 lead, the biggest of the game.
Atlanta led 85-84 before Augustin’s four free throws and Michael Carter-Williams’s dunk giving the Magic a 90-85 lead.
The Hawks twice tied the game on shots by Young. His long 3-pointer tied the game at 90, and his jumper knotted the score at 94 total.
Kevin Huerter and Jabari Parker each had 10 points for the Hawks.