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Luka Doncic and Trae Young will forever be connected after they were traded for each other on draft day in 2018, and the latter helped prevent a season sweep Saturday with the former sidelined.
Young’s Atlanta Hawks defeated Doncic’s Dallas Mavericks 111-107 at State Farm Arena, evening the two-game season series as Atlanta improved to 17-41 following a second straight win.
Young gave his team the lead with a deep three-pointer in the final two minutes and then broke a tie with a shot in the lane in the final minute to take the lead for good.
As for the Mavericks, they can take solace in knowing they are the one eventually headed to the playoffs this year at 34-23 even though their two-game winning streak ended with Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis sidelined.
- ATL G Trae Young: 25 points, 10 assists and six rebounds
- ATL F John Collins: 35 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks
- ATL G Cam Reddish: 20 points, six rebounds and three steals
- DAL G Tim Hardaway Jr.: 33 points, five assists and four rebounds
- DAL G Seth Curry: 22 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals
Hawks’ Advantage in Star Power Makes the Difference
The primary storyline entering play was how the Mavericks would perform without Doncic and Porzingis after they defeated the Orlando Magic on Friday.
The Associated Press noted Doncic was resting his previously sprained right ankle on the second night of a back-to-back, while Porzingis was doing the same with his surgically repaired left knee.
The rotation was further depleted because Willie Cauley-Stein was out for personal reasons, and Jalen Brunson was ruled out with a right shoulder sprain in the first half.
Dallas didn’t need the Doncic and Porzingis pairing during a 23-point win over the Hawks on Feb. 1 and appeared to be well on the way to a similar result on the road Saturday. Tim Hardaway Jr. and Seth Curry combined for 34 points and five made three-pointers in the first half alone, and the Mavericks cruised into the final 10 minutes with a double-digit advantage.
While Collins did much of the offensive work against a short-handed Dallas frontcourt in the early portion of the game, Young scored or assisted on 19 of the Hawks’ final 27 points. He drilled a game-tying three with three minutes left before he hit the go-ahead bucket down the stretch and consistently blew past the Mavericks’ perimeter defenders.
Stars take over in crunch time, and the visitors didn’t have any of their own in Saturday’s rotation to counter No. 11.
The Hawks turned to their promising young playmaker on possession after possession, and he stole a victory from a Western Conference playoff contender in dramatic fashion.
Doncic’s absence took away from the individual battle, but Young had no problem creating his story with the game on the line.
Both teams are in action Monday when the Mavericks host the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Hawks are at the Philadelphia 76ers.