“I was asymptomatic the whole time,” Young said. “Maybe the first day I was kind of sleepy, very tired. … I was around my whole family a couple days before. Everyone I was around all tested negative. It was definitely shocking.”
While he mostly ran on a treadmill, trying to keep up with the Hawks during games, to stay in shape, there was a sense of frustration not being able to play.
“Especially when you are not feeling bad and people around you aren’t getting it, it’s all confusing for you,” Young said. “I just want to play.”
Cam Reddish, who finished with a team-high 33 points, including eight a career-high eight 3-pointers, said he didn’t even know Young had been cleared to return until he walked into the locker room.
“I was just hanging out and he walked in,” Reddish said. “I said ‘We got Trae tonight.’”
Despite the layoff, Young played 40 minutes, including the entire first and third quarters. He finished with 29 points and nine assists. Young started fast with 12 points and five assists in the first quarter, including helping on the Hawks’ first three baskets.
“I talked to him about how I wanted to sub him during the game,” Hawks coach Nate McMillan said. “We didn’t do it. I was going to get him early because I thought he would be winded. I asked him midway through the first quarter how he felt and he said he felt great, so we kept him in. It was tough to take him off the floor with our young backups and the rotation and bench we had not familiar with our sets.”
The big three
DeMar DeRozan, Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic caused nearly all the trouble for the Hawks. DeRozan finished with a game-high 35 points, LaVine finished with 30 points and Vucevic had 24 points and 17 rebounds. They accounted for 69% of the Bulls offense.
“It’s really tough when you have DeRozan on one wing and you are trying to get the ball out of his hands and the ball is rotated to LaVine on the other side,” McMillan said. “It’s really pick your poison. Both of those guys are very capable of scoring in single coverage. We wanted to mix in some double teams. They did a good job of getting the ball out of the rotation and knocking down some big shots. Vucevic knocked down some big shots in the second half.”
The Bulls ended the second quarter with a 23-12 run to take control of the game. LaVine scored 17 of the points in the decisive run. The Bulls led by as many as 16 points, that in the third quarter. The Hawks pulled to within four points in the fourth quarter but could never get all the way back.
And you are?
How desperate were the Hawks with 10 players in the NBA’s healthy and safety protocol, even with Young’s return? The started a lineup that included Chaundee Brown, who just Monday signed a 10-day contract.
“A couple of our guys we had to show them to the locker room tonight,” McMillan said before the game. “First time in the building. It’s real. It’s that real.”
Brown played more than 30 minutes, including the entire first quarter, and finished with four points, nine rebounds and two steals.
No place like home
The Hawks have lost eight straight games at home. Their last home victory came more than a month ago – 113-101 victory over the Thunder on Nov. 22. The Hawks embark on a six-game road trip and won’t play at home again until Jan. 12 against the Heat.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
“Their big three, it seemed like everything they threw up went in. … It seemed like every time we close, they cut us down with a big bucket.” – Hawks coach Nate McMillan on play of the Bulls’ DeRozan, LaVine and Vucevic
STAR OF THE GAME
Cam Reddish. The wing finished with 33 points and a career-high eight 3-pointers. His previous high was six. “Open looks. My teammates were finding me. I was able to knock them down,” Reddish said.