Trae Young had a week for the ages. The former Oklahoma Sooners star set a career-high in points at Houston last Monday, matched it two nights later against Minnesota, then surpassed it on a record-setting Friday night against the Bulls. On one of the most prolific stretches of offensive proficiency in rookie history, Young’s form has the Hawks playing some exciting ball.
Atlanta started the week on the road in Houston, with Young going 8-of-12 from deep on his way to a then-career-high 36 points and eight assists in a 119-111 loss to the Rockets. It goes without saying that his shooting is immaculate, but the passing may be even more impressive. Trae has truly found a groove since the All-Star break and is heading toward a collision course with Luka Doncic for late Rookie of the Year conversations.
Two nights later, in a 131-123 OT win at home against the Timberwolves, Trae matched his career-high with another 36-point outing and added 10 assists while barely missing out on a triple double by just two boards.
Then, on the first night of March, Trae Young exploded for 49 points and 16 assists in a quadruple-overtime thriller at home against the Bulls. The sharpshooting rookie entered the fourth quarter with 16 points and went absolutely bonkers from there. Connecting on 9-of-11 from three-point range, Young etched his name in the record books with his epic performance, as he became the first rookie in league history to ever finish with at least 45 points and 15 assists in a single game (albeit in a very long contest).
Though the Hawks came up short to Chicago, 168-161, Young’s remarkable night will be talked about for a long time.
Rookies with 40+ pts and 10+ ast in a game in the last 40 seasons:— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 2, 2019
That's it. pic.twitter.com/Qj4Sx6lBoM
Trae then led the Hawks into Chicago on Sunday afternoon for a chance to avenge the Friday loss. Starting strong with three makes from his first four from deep, Young looked poised to finish with at least 35 points for the fourth-straight game, which would have been second to only Allen Iverson as a rookie. But there was also this early incident with Bulls point guard Kris Dunn, which led to both players receiving a technical foul.
As tensions continued to build, Young’s 18 points and five assists had Atlanta holding onto a big lead in the third quarter. What followed was one of the strangest, most ridiculous officiating calls ever made in a basketball game.
Full look at Trae Young receiving a 2nd tech which meant he was ejected for staring down Kris Dunn. This is just absurd. pic.twitter.com/TyZSueD4q9— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) March 3, 2019
It had many in the basketball world befuddled, to say the least.
What’s happened to my beloved NBA game? So damn SOFT and SENSITIVE now, nooooo way Trae Young should be given a technical for this.. I would have been broke and out of the league in 2 years ... #LetBallersBall pic.twitter.com/0eKlxOCx8V— Reggie Miller (@ReggieMillerTNT) March 3, 2019
Trae Young was just ejected for THIS...staring down Dunn after hitting a 3. Boy I tell ya...this officiating is something else!! https://t.co/I7My2lmMkC— Antonio Daniels (@adaniels33) March 3, 2019
Another historic Bulls/Hawks game as officials make worst call in NBA history. Trae Young 3 for 78-62 lead. Puts hands on hips and stares. Taunting T and ejected after previously having one. NBA now going back and eject Steph Curry and LeBron for every game they've played.— Sam Smith (@SamSmithHoops) March 3, 2019
Trae Young is so good now that his taunts (apparently) warrant ejections. Look, if the kid can pull up from 28 & drain a 3 in some dude's face, he's earned the right to do whatever he wants afterward. This tech is weak sauce pic.twitter.com/jVtvXtnaaX— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) March 3, 2019
Even Dunn disagreed with the call.
Kris Dunn: "In my opinion, I don't think (Trae Young) should've got ejected."— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) March 3, 2019
Here’s Trae’s postgame reaction to the second technical:
Trae Young on his ejection during the bulls game today‼️ pic.twitter.com/o7OLkcFSCd— Sports Daily United (@sdumultimedia) March 4, 2019
The Hawks had the last laugh, however, and held on to win, but they have to get ready for a quick turnaround as they face the Heat on Monday night.
Buddy Hield followed up his big performance in Oklahoma City last Saturday with 18 points and eight rebounds in a loss at Minnesota the following Monday. The third-year vet bounced back strong a couple nights later against the Bucks at home, finishing with 32 points and six boards in a tough 141-140 loss to the team with the league’s best record.
The Kings wrapped up the week with a third-straight loss, this time in a California derby against the Clippers at home. Hield again led the Kings in scoring with 23, along with seven boards and three-of-eight from long range. Buddy’s steady offense kept Sacramento in it late, but ultimately, the surging Clippers held onto win 116-109.
The win moved the Clippers into seventh place in the Western Conference, while the disappointing week dropped the Kings to ninth at 31-31. Buddy and company take on the Knicks at home on Monday night followed by the Celtics on Wednesday before heading out on a four-game road trip beginning at New York next Saturday.
Blake Griffin’s week began with a triple-double in a 113-109 win against the Pacers last Monday at home. Finishing with 20 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and five-of-10 from three, Griffin turned in one of the most balanced performances in his career to date.
The Pistons then came up short, 105-93, in San Antonio on Wednesday, with the 2011 NBA Rookie of the Year finishing with 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists and three-of-seven from deep. Rebounding in a big way in the next game, Griffin and the Pistons whooped the Cavs, 129-93, in Cleveland on Saturday. Blake did his damage early and finished with a quiet 14 points, nine assists and seven boards as Detroit cruised to the easy win.
With a quick turnaround on a back-to-back the next evening in Toronto, Blake led the Pistons with a big 27 points in a 112-107 win against the Kawhi Leonard-less Raptors.
He was even hitting shots like this that didn’t count.
Blake Griffin with a circus AND1 shot that didn’t end up counting pic.twitter.com/JAXdSIhM1O— NBA RETWEET (@RTNBA) March 4, 2019
The win moved Detroit into sixth in the East at 31-31 ahead of a clash against the T’Wolves on Wednesday.
Season Stats: 25.5 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 5.4 APG, 0.4 BPG, 47.2% FG, 36.6% 3FG, 74.8% FT
Schedule: Wed. vs. Timberwolves, Fri. at Bulls, Sun. vs Bulls
Season Stats: 20.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.3 APG, 0.4 BPG, 46.9% FG, 44.3% 3FG, 86.8% FT
Schedule: Mon. at Knicks, Wed. vs. Celtics, Sat. at Knicks
Season Stats: 18.3 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 7.8 APG, 0.2 BPG, 41.6% FG, 33.9% 3FG, 81.8% FT
Schedule: Mon. at Heat, Wed. vs. Spurs, Sat. vs. Nets, Sun. vs Pelicans