NBA All-Star weekend has been (quite) busy for Trae Young, with the point guard of the Atlanta Hawks taking part in three different events. Things began in positive fashion with a win in Friday’s Rising Stars Game and, on Saturday, Young was light-hearted after a one-and-done performance in the 3-Point Contest. Everything led up to Sunday evening, though, with the 21-year-old earning his first All-Star appearance and starting for Team Giannis on the biggest stage.
Young was matched up with fellow 2018 draftee Luka Doncic early, as the two took turns guarding each other in the opening minutes. Young pulled up from the logo in the first 90 seconds, but missed. Young had two points and four assists in his first on-court stint, showing off his distribution skills.
Connecting with the Team Captain early pic.twitter.com/EIqsOLh1QJ— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) February 17, 2020
Young tossed in a lob from Kemba Walker for his first All-Star field goal.
After a (very) long rest, Young wasted no time getting things going again, with a couple of quick assists and a gorgeous pull-up three-pointer. Then, he took things to another level with a trademark nutmeg of James Harden.
TRAE YOUNG NUTMEGS JAMES HARDEN pic.twitter.com/FnEtWV1Ho8— ClutchPoints NBA (@ClutchPointsNBA) February 17, 2020
Right before the halftime buzzer, Young then delivered an on-brand connection from the half-court line, prompting quite a celebration and putting Team Giannis up by a nine-point overall margin after two quarters.
In only 10 minutes of first-half action, Young contributed eight points and seven assists (the most on either team in the first half), making an impression along the way.
The second half actually opened with Young (and Pascal Siakam) surprisingly on the bench, as Team Giannis elected to start both Donovan Mitchell and Bam Adebayo coming out of the break. Mercifully, he checked back in around the six-minute mark and immediately generated another assist.
Young wasn’t done there, hitting Rudy Gobert with a pretty lob pass for a dunk.
And, before the end of the third quarter, Young and Gobert connected again for a dunk that brought real drama and tied the quarter score with less than three seconds remaining.
That final assist gave Young 10 points and 10 assists after three quarters and he did it in only 16 minutes of game action. Unfortunately for Atlanta-based observers, that was the end of Young’s night, as the fourth quarter (and the new-look Elam Ending) took place without either of the second-year All-Star starters on the floor.
The closing period was a great deal of fun to watch, with a frantic format that was aided by the lack of commercial breaks. Ultimately, Team LeBron got the win, in relatively anticlimactic fashion, with a free throw from Anthony Davis.
It was certainly controversial that Nick Nurse elected to roll without Young (and Rudy Gobert) on the floor in crunch time. Still, it was a fun night for Young and he performed well on the brightest stage. There is also no doubt that he’ll be back for more in the future.
The Hawks will kick off their post-break journey on Thursday evening with a home game against the Miami Heat.