Trae Young saved the Hawks‘ season with a game-winning shot Tuesday night, and their series with the Celtics no longer seems like a mismatch as they head back to Atlanta, writes Jeff Schultz of The Athletic. Young drilled a 30-footer with 2.8 seconds left to cap off an improbable victory in Game 5. He scored the team’s final 14 points on a night where he played 44 minutes and didn’t check out of the game in the second half.
“I’ve been owning the moment my whole life. That’s what I do,” he said.
The heroic performance was gratifying for Young, who got off to a miserable start in the series, making 14 of 40 shots and committing 10 turnovers in the first two games in Boston. He has scored 35 and 38 points in the last two contests and has the Hawks believing they can pull off an upset.
“You look at his eyes and there was a calm,” coach Quin Snyder said. “Sometimes that happens in the middle of a storm.”
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
- The Hawks won Game 5 without Dejounte Murray, who was serving a one-game suspension for making contact with an official following Sunday’s contest. At Tuesday’s shootaround, Murray indicated that his issues with referee Gediminas Petraitis date back to his time in San Antonio, but added that he takes responsibility for the incident (video link from Coley Harvey of ESPN).
- Re-signing restricted free agent P.J. Washington will likely be an offseason priority for the Hornets, according to Melissa Melvin-Rodriguez of The Charlotte Observer. After not receiving a rookie scale extension last fall, Washington responded with his best NBA season, averaging a career-high 15.7 PPG and ranking fourth in the league in clutch field goal percentage. Charlotte’s front office considers Washington part of the team’s young core and he has expressed a desire to stay there, Melvin-Rodriguez adds. She examines the entire roster, stating that Dennis Smith Jr. will likely get a new contract this summer, Kelly Oubre‘s fate will depend on what offers he gets in free agency and Gordon Hayward may not be moveable right away but could be more attractive at the trade deadline due to his expiring contract.
- As the Wizards search for a replacement for dismissed general manager Tommy Sheppard, the NBA issued a memo stating that VP of player programs John Thompson III and assistant GM Brett Greenberg are currently running the basketball operations department, tweets Fred Katz of The Athletic.