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Feb 3, 2024 2:06 am

Hawks’ Trae Young rides hot streak into matchup vs. Warriors

Atlanta guard Trae Young will continue his pursuit of a side door into the upcoming NBA All-Star Game when the Hawks host the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night.

In his first game since learning he was not among the seven reserves named to the Eastern Conference roster for this month’s All-Star Game, Young sent Eastern coaches, players and fans a bit of a message with seven 3-pointers, 32 points and 15 assists during Atlanta’s 129-120 home win over the Phoenix Suns on Friday.

The big effort came against Western All-Star guard Devin Booker, who had 24 points in the loss.

One night later, Young will run into another Western All-Star guard, Stephen Curry, who had 20 points, six rebounds and six assists as the Warriors opened a five-game trip with a 121-101 win at Memphis on Friday.

The meeting of teams on short winning streaks (Hawks, three games; Warriors, two game) is a rematch of a 134-112 Golden State home victory on Jan. 24. The Warriors wore down the visitors, who were without Young (sidelined due to a concussion), outscoring the Hawks 65-44 in the second half of what had been a one-point game at halftime.

Curry (25), Jonathan Kuminga (25) and Klay Thompson (24) did much of the heavy lifting for Golden State.

Kuminga and Brandin Podziemski stole the spotlight from Curry and Thompson in the Friday win over the Grizzlies. Kuminga scored at least 20 points for the eighth straight game, winding up with 29. Podziemski had arguably the best outing of his rookie year, logging a season-best 14 assists to complement 12 points and seven rebounds.

Afterward, Warriors coach Steve Kerr took time to applaud his club’s ball movement on a 32-assist night.

“The extra ballhandler we have on the floor when (Podziemski) is out there with Steph is really important,” Kerr said. “And when Steph goes to the bench, we really need (Podziemski) out there to run the team. He just knows how to play.”

Golden State never trailed in the second half at Memphis, allowing Kerr to keep his starters’ minutes to a minimum. Curry was called upon to play just 32 minutes, while Thompson, who missed the previous game with an illness, went just 27.

Meanwhile, Young was pressed into 42 minutes of duty, Dejounte Murray 39 and Jalen Johnson 38 in Atlanta’s win over Phoenix. All three were on the court at the end as the Hawks held on for the victory.

Although denied a spot among the original 12 on the Eastern All-Star team, Young retains a chance to be added to the squad as an injury replacement. The New York Knicks’ Julius Randle (dislocated right shoulder) and the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid (left meniscus injury) almost certainly will have to be scratched.

Few players have been hotter of late than Young, a two-time All-Star who has averaged 29.5 points and 12.8 assists in his past four games.

Young took time after the Friday game to say he had no hard feelings toward fans who didn’t vote for him and would gladly accept a replacement bid to the Feb. 18 showcase in Indianapolis.

“I got a lot of love for the fans,” he said. “I have a lot of love for the fans out there. I don’t have much to say about it right now.”

–Field Level Media

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