Hawks advance to playoffs behind Trae Young’s 32 second half points, set to take on top seeded Heat

Atlanta Hawks Trae Young

There were multiple occasions in the Hawks’ win over the Cavaliers Friday night where many people had written Atlanta off. They faced a double-digit deficit in front of a rambunctious Cleveland crowd with Clint Capela out of the game with a knee injury.¬†However, during halftime, Nate McMillan‘s ‘believe’ rhetoric was enough for the Hawks to advance to the playoffs.

The Cavs led for pretty much the entire first half holding the lead to double digits for the entire time behind Laurin Markkanen’s 17 first-half points, sinking 5-of-8 from deep. He finished as the team’s leading scoring (26), while Darius Garland added 21 points of his own.

Despite Atlanta getting some valuable defensive moments from Kevin Huerter and Onyeka Okongwu, it was the Trae Young show. The superstar point guard finished with a game-high 38 points, including a tantalizing 32 in the second half.

Young scored or assisted on 43 of 56 points in the final two quarters, which was more points than the Cavs scored as a team (40). Atlanta’s first lead of the game came during the third quarter on a deep-three from Young, who totaled 16 in the third and fourth quarters without a signal turnover, helping the Hawks overcome a 14-point deficit.

Even though All-Star Jarrett Allen returned to the starting lineup after missing 19 games with a broken finger, the defensive player of the year candidate wasn’t enough to limit Young’s huge night. Now, the Hawks will advance to the playoffs for the second consecutive year and are set to face the Eastern Conference’s top-seeded Miami Heat.

 

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