ATLANTA - When Trae Young was carried off by his teammates after spraining his ankle in Miami last Tuesday, many feared for the worst as the optics of the injury - and the aftermath - weren't pretty at all.
All it took was one week for him to put the minds of most at ease.
Just seven days after his nasty fall, the 21-year-old rising star returned to action as the Hawks played host to the San Antonio Spurs, and it didn't take long for him to assert his will as an elite playmaker.
In the first quarter alone, Young assisted on six of Atlanta's 10 made field goals; he entered the half with 10 dimes but still seemed to be missing the lift on his jumper, as he went 0-for-8 from the field through the first 24 minutes.
The second half was a much different story.
Young didn't just find his groove, he was also flat-out on fire, scoring 28 points (on 10-for-15 shooting) in the final two quarters. In true Trae Young fashion, he made plenty of highlights along the way, too, like this triple:
Trae Young, ladies & gents 🤯 pic.twitter.com/mjsP1ShzUI- Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) November 6, 2019
And this nasty crossover that led to one of his three second-half assists.
Oh....oh my 😱😱😱😱 pic.twitter.com/e4ywFbP7ta- Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) November 6, 2019
As he stepped up to the line with 41.4 seconds remaining in the final frame, "M-V-P" chants erupted at State Farm Arena. While he might be a few years away from rising up the league's MVP ladder, it was certainly an MVP-like performance for the second-year guard, who stepped up in the first of 25 league-mandated absences by his running mate, big man John Collins.
Young finished the night with 29 points (on 10-for-23 shooting), 13 assists and a resounding message that he's capable of lifting this team while it's without its second-leading scorer.
Following the game, Young told reporters that the biggest difference between the halves was that "I just slowed down, for me, obviously getting back, and trying to get back into a rhythm early in the game is tough."
He continued, saying "I was just trying to find my rhythm, trying to find my shot, and it just wasn't going down in the first half. Luckily I'm blessed with great teammates and great coaches who keep instilling confidence in me by just telling me to 'keep going'"
Prior to the season, Young stated that "I believe I have a chance to be an All-Star this year…"
Performances like these - from both a numbers and impact standpoint - in big wins will only make his case to earn an All-Star berth this season stronger and stronger.
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