Skip to main content

After going up against Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook in round one, the Sixers find themselves tasked with defending another elite guard in round two. Now, their focus is containing the offensive juggernaut that is Trae Young. 

Young has managed to elevate his game in his first taste of postseason action. The performance he had in game one played a major role in the Hawks striking first in the series. The All-Star guard went for 35 points and ten assists in Atlanta's game one win. 

While Doc Rivers did not waste any time putting Ben Simmons on Beal in round one, he did not do the same in round two. Danny Green got first cracks at defended Young with Simmons being used as a roamer early on. 

Rivers used this tactic a lot in the regular season, so it did not come as much of a surprise. After a scorching hot shooting performance in the first half from the Hawks as a whole, the DPOY finalist took over defending Young. 

Containing Young's offensive game is no small task, and the players know that. Green admitted the difficulty of defending a player like Young after the team's film session on Monday. 

"It's a challenge all over with him. He's a great player. He's obviously figured it out. We have our hands with me, Matisse, Ben, George, everyone that is going to be guarding him at some point. It's not an individual effort to guard him. That's why he's a superstar, that's why he's an All-Star," said Green. 

Young is one of the craftiest guards in the league right now. His ability to draw fouls is what makes it such a challenge defending him. 

Heading into game two, Green's focus with defending Young is to "try to be physical smartly without fouling him, which is going to be tough to do." 

Now that the Sixers have a fresh sample of going against Young, they have what they need to make adjustments. The Sixers' defense did a much better job defending Young in the second half of game one, which is sure to carry over into game two. 

How Rivers adjusts to the defense on Young will be one of the biggest things to watch heading into the second matchup between these teams on Tuesday night. 

Kevin McCormick covers the Philadelphia 76ers for South Jersey's 97.3 ESPN and Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCNBA.