Trae Young had his way with the Philadelphia 76ers' defense when the Atlanta Hawks opened up their second-round series in Philly last Sunday. In just under 40 minutes of action, Young got up 23 shots on the Sixers.
Hitting on nearly 50-percent of his shots from the field, the Hawks All-Star collected a team-high of 35 points in Atlanta's Game 1 win over Philly. Once the Sixers realized Danny Green wasn't able to keep up and contain Young for an entire game, the Sixers unleashed their Defensive Player of the Year finalist on him in Game 2.
With hopes of staying out of foul trouble, Simmons and the Sixers played as aggressively as they could on the crafty young guard. In Game 2, Young put up just 16 shots and only drained 37-percent of those attempts for 21 points.
In Game 3, the Sixers came with a similar game plan and once again had the young guard frustrated on the court as he could only get up 17 shots from the field. While Young found ways to score and churn out a decent 28 points on Friday night, points aren't coming nearly as easy as they typically would for the All-Star.
As Young is drawing one of the NBA's best defenders almost every time he touches the ball, he could start to get worn down as the series goes on. However, that hasn't happened quite yet three games into the series.
"I felt fine," Young said after Friday's Game 3 loss to the Sixers. "I feel good. I’ve seen every type of coverage and every type of defense. It’s all about just trying to figure out how to manage and attack it. So, Nah [I’m not getting worn down].”
While Hawks head coach Nate McMillan agrees Young isn't getting exhausted in the series, he is going to look for ways to help his team avoid feeling trapped on the court as the Sixers have a stellar defensive attack.
"If they are trapping Trae, he’s been doing a good job of getting the ball out of double teams, and then other guys have to make plays when he sees that type of defense," McMillan explained. "There hasn’t been a lot of traps. It’s been some hedges, but for the most part, Simmons is guarding Trae. What we got to do is we really got to set better screens on the ball to free up the basketball.”
The Hawks and the Sixers return to the floor on Monday night for Game 4. Although the Sixers took home-court advantage back with Friday's win, Atlanta is in a must-win scenario for Game 4 as they want to avoid falling to 1-3 before heading back to Philly while facing elimination.