Trae Young stumbled through the first three weeks of 2021 shooting poorly from the field and hearing criticisms from teammate John Collins and Nets head coach Steve Nash. His ball-dominance rubbed Collins the wrong way, and his foul-drawing technique frustrated the former point guard.
Something was off about one of the world's best scorers. During an eight-game stretch, Young shot 32.9% from the field and 22.2% from 3-point range, averaging 18.3 points on 17.5 shots per game with 8.8 assists to 4.5 turnovers. The Hawks slid, losing six of those eight games to start the new year. But Tuesday night continued a different story.
Sure, the Hawks played an extremely short-handed Clippers team without Paul George or Kawhi Leonard due to medical protocol and Patrick Beverley due to a knee injury, but Young took over. He finished with a game-high 38 points on 12-of-23 shooting, including three made 3-pointers, and 11-of-11 free-throw shooting. He added five assists, three rebounds, and turned the ball over just three times in 36 minutes.
Young's hot streak hit a third consecutive game in the 108-99 win over L.A. Since January 20th, he's averaging an absurd 39.7 points per game on 52.1% shooting from the field and 58.3% shooting from distance. He's also dishing 6.7 assists and 3.7 rebounds while turning the ball over 4.0 times in 37 minutes. Atlanta's won all three of those games (losing one in between that Young didn't play in due to a back injury.)
Atlanta's problems aren't all fixed. Injuries have been a problem all year, and the offense isn't nearly as crisp as expected. But Young's back to knocking 31-foot jumpers with ease and moving with confidence. And that's an important step.
Let's also talk about L.A. The Clippers' rotations on Tuesday were super important for fantasy managers looking to make adjustments based on the team's injury/protocol news as George, Leonard, and Beverley all didn't make the trip out East for the Clippers' six-game road trip.
Reggie Jackson was the day's biggest winner, playing 39 minutes as the team's starting point guard. He logged season-highs in points (20), assists (8), and rebounds (7), to go along with a block and two steals with two turnovers. He made two 3-pointers, too. Jackson's rostered in just 9% of Yahoo! leagues and should be picked up until Beverley returns.
Also of note was new starter Terance Mann, who scored 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting (one 3-pointer) with nine rebounds, one assist, and four steals without a turnover in 34 minutes. He's only played 30 or more minutes twice this season and has grabbed three or more steals in each game. He's rostered in just 1% of leagues and is at least worth a look in spot situations.
Down the roster, there was little movement for fantasy purposes. Serge Ibaka attempted a season-high 15 shots, but only finished with 15 points (one made 3-pointer), and Luke Kennard also attempted a season-high 13 shots but finished with just 13 points (and four steals). Amir Coffey played 12 minutes (his most since December) but scored just two points.
Now let's talk about the other four teams that played in Tuesday's three-game slate.
Rockets 107, Wizards 88
Bradley Beal — Beal remains one of the few reasons to watch the Wizards this season, and looked sharp in the 19-point loss. He scored 33 points on 12-of-28 shooting (one made 3-pointer) and added five rebounds, four assists, and a block with five turnovers.
DeMarcus Cousins — Cousins is enjoying one of his best stretches in recent years, following up a 28-point game with a 19-point double-double. He made 6-of-11 shots and added 11 rebounds, two assists, five steals, and a block.
John Wall — In his first game against his former team, Wall and Russell Westbrook got chippy, exchanging enough words to be whistled for a double-technical. Wall got the last laugh in the big win, and he played just fine. He scored 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting with six assists, two rebounds, one steal, and three turnovers.
David Nwaba — Nwaba had a nice fantasy game, scoring 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting (one 3-pointer) with nine rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block with just one turnover.
Russell Westbrook — A year after placing No. 43 of all players in 9-cat leagues, Westbrook's nowhere to be found in the top-200. On Tuesday night, he scored 19 points on 7-of-17 shooting with 11 rebounds, seven assists, six turnovers, and no defensive statistics.
Victor Oladipo — Oladipo's cold shooting continued. He scored 20 points, but it took him 21 shots to get there. He made just seven of them (three 3-pointers) and added five rebounds and one assist with three turnovers.
Isaac Bonga — Despite starting and playing 26 minutes, Bonga finished without a single point, and only contributed four rebounds and one turnover. He had no points, assists, steals, or blocks. That's impressive in all the wrong ways.
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Jazz 108, Knicks 94
Austin Rivers — Rivers was on fire and scored a season-high 25 points (five made 3-pointers) with three rebounds, an assist, and a turnover in 27 minutes off the bench. He scored more points on Tuesday than his last five games combined, though, so take this performance for what it is — a great single showing until proven otherwise.
Rudy Gobert — Gobert had a monstrous 18-point, 19-rebound double-double to help the Jazz survive what looked to be a scare from the Knicks through the first three quarters of Tuesday's game. He added four blocks and two assists, too.
Julius Randle — This wasn't his best night, but 18 points on 6-of-16 shooting (two made 3-pointers) with 10 rebounds and four assists to two turnovers in 35 minutes is a fine showing for him.
Mike Conley — Conley had to pick up the slack for a struggling Donovan Mitchell by scoring 19 points on 5-of-12 shooting (three made 3-pointers) with seven rebounds, five assists, and just one turnover in 32 minutes.
Royce O'Neale — O'Neale had a team-high 20 points, the most he's scored this season, on 7-of-12 shooting (two made 3-pointers). In 35 minutes, he added six rebounds, two assists, and a block without a turnover.
Donovan Mitchell — Mitchell didn't reach double-digit points for the first time this season, scoring just nine on 3-of-15 shooting. It was a rough night for him that ended with just eight rebounds, three assists, and two turnovers in 34 minutes.
Immanuel Quickley — Quickley followed his best game as a pro with maybe his worst. He made just 1-of-11 shots for six points, four rebounds, one assist, and a steal with two turnovers in 23 minutes. That'll hurt fans campaigning for Tom Thibodeau to make him a starter.