Miami Heat Limit Trae Young But Know He’s Capable of Big Game

Miami Heat Limit Trae Young But Know He's Capable of Big Game

In-Game 1 of the Heat-Hawks first-round series, Miami limited Trae Young to just eight points and six rebounds while forcing him to commit more turnovers (six) than assists (four). Young was also a +/- of -22 as the Heat blew the Hawks out of the water, 115-91.

As great as limiting Young to that low of output is, the Heat are also aware that Young and the Hawks coaching staff led by Nate McMillan will find a way to unlock their star point guards offensive talent. Young sat out the final 14 minutes of the game to gather his thoughts on what went wrong and the adjustments he could make for Game 2.

“He’s going to score the ball,” Heat forward P.J. Tucker said per ESPN. “That’s one game. You look at it as that. Treat him the exact same way the next game. Expect him to take a lot more shots and be a lot more aggressive, so we got to bring that same type of energy and even more. Because he’ll be better.”

According to ESPN Stats and Information, Ice Trae’s 8.3 percent shooting from the field was the worst single-game shooting performance of his career spanning the regular and post-season. Despite bottling Young like they did, the Heat are aware that a shifty guard that can shoot the three-ball like Young will never be bottled entirely up for at least four losses.

“Miami played at another level,” McMillan said per ESPN. “We have to get to another level. There is another level of intensity where you are locked in on winning every possession. We have to execute and value every possession in these games.”

The Heat finished the regular season fourth in defensive rating. The game plan from Coach Erik Spoelstra was to switch longer, rangier defenders onto Young whenever the Hawks ran pick-and-roll. According to Second Spectrum, the scheme resulted in the Heat switching 21 times against Young in Game 1, allowing 0.8 points per direct pick.

The Oklahoma product scored 0.96 points per direct pick against all opposing defenses that switched against him during the regular season.

“Keep him in front,” explained Jimmy Butler. “He is constantly breaking down defenses and causing you to help, and if you don’t help it’s a layup, [or] it’s a floater. And if you do help, he’s hitting the right guy every single time [with a pass]. I think we did a great job of not fouling and just moving our feet and staying in front of him.”

Young acknowledged that fatigue set in after a short turnaround from playing in the play-in tournament.

“You definitely feel the heavy legs, but you have to give them credit,” Young said. “They came out aggressive; they came out with a lot of energy.”

Game 2 of this first-round series will take place on Tuesday in Miami.

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