After dominating the Charlotte Hornets at 132-103 on Wednesday night in the State Farm arena, the Atlanta Hawks are one step closer to securing a place in the 2022 NBA playoffs. The Hawks were ahead, essentially, the entire evening, before opening the game during the third quarter and creating a deficit that the Hornets could not cope with.
Trey Young led the Hawks’ attack with 24 points and 10 assists, with Atlanta contributing further and further down their list, with a total of six players scoring double figures in the win. Lamello finished on a team with 24 points for Paul Hornets, but, inefficiently, he needed 25 shot attempts to get there.
Now, let’s see which team can come out on Friday night where the Hawks and Cavaliers meet for the right to face the Miami Heat. Here are three big takeaways from tonight’s game.
1. Trey Young Security-Proof
Trey Young scored 13 for 3 from the field in the first half. This is a performance that cannot be understood by the box score. Despite Young’s shots failing, the Hawks continued to score. They scored 60 in the first half due to the extra focus given to Charlotte Young. They took him half court and stuck him on screen, but since Young was a very powerful passer and could shoot from behind the line, all of those tactics opened things up for his teammates. They were presented with a star half.
So the Hornets made the second a little easier and replaced more screens. Young Roasted Poor Adults Charlotte threw him to the ground to hunt him down, this time beating him like he was hitting a passerby. The Hawks scored 132 points in the game and beat Young’s minutes by 27 points.
This is the level at which Young rides in the big games. The Knicks, Bucks and Sixers saw this in the playoffs last year. There is no defense you can use against him and it will not lead to good crime for the falcons constantly. Drop it, he will hit you with the hover after the hover. Go down, he will go above the logo 3s. Play very aggressively, he will blossom free throws. Even Philadelphia, with Ben Simmons and Mattis Thibault, could not stop him, even though he threw himself into regular defense.
This is the highest playoff offense ever reserved for the best shot-creators in basketball. At a given time, usually only three or four players in basketball will be defensive-proof in this way. LeBron James and James Horton have been there for many years. Stephen Curry may still be. Luca Tonsic and Trey Young have risen to that level now and should be there for some time. If the Hawks are able to provide the right team players for Young, there is no reason why they should not score like this in the years to come.
2. LaMelo LaBusts
A year ago, Lamelo Paul shot a 4-off-14 to the pacers in a play-off defeat. Tonight, he scored 25 for 7 in a play-off defeat to the Hawks. Now, this is a two-game model. This does not make particular sense in the plan of big things, and as the Hornets move forward and find the list around him, he’s going to get many more great games to prove himself. Very soon he was wondering if he was fit in the high foreign exchange. Circumstances.
But what we can say more definitively is that there is no denying Young on the ball. He is not the type to counter any defensive ball thrown by an opponent. He is an all-star who has scored 16 single digits in his two NBA seasons. He’s obviously not close to his prime, but he’s not a stand-alone creator and most teams like their star point guards. He’s a flow player, a killer in transition, can act within a crime, but Young has yet to figure out how to own it in the way he does.
There is no reason to believe he can not. After all, he’s in his second season, and although he’s not Young’s smooth big-and-roll operator, he shares Young’s incredible passing vision and shooting range. There are pieces, but like his brother he is a random finisher and intermediate operator, he loves to move the ball. This is good for the regular season. If he wants to be a player who can lead his team in the deep run, that is something he has to work on for the postseason.
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3. Will the Hornets find a center?
At this point, we should all be upset about James Borego. This guy has been doing Roop Goldberking within years of semi-decent security with 6-7 centers and nothing but uninterested guards, and finally, that approach works in its course. Mason Plumlee and Montrezl Harrell were fewer centers this year, but throughout Borrego’s entire tenure the Hornets failed to provide him with adequate rim-protector.
It killed them in this game as well, for most of the season. The Hawks got an easy triple penetration for most of the first half, and they used it to kick the ball out to the shooters. While the Hornets stayed home in those shooters in the second half, the Hawks got all the loops and dunks they wanted. It can be prevented by the perfect big man. It’s time for the Hornets to go out and find one.
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