The Hawks star explained the method to the madness behind Saddiq Bey’s game-winner vs. the Raptors.
The Atlanta Hawks and Toronto Raptors were locked in a nip-and-tuck affair on Sunday night, and the topsy-turvy nature of that contest could not have been encapsulated in a better way by the final sequence that defined the game.
In the end, however, the Hawks, despite Trae Young‘s late-game turnover that nearly cost them the game and missed game-winning attempt, took home the win, 125-124, thanks to Saddiq Bey’s heroic putback that left barely enough time for the Raptors to retaliate, which they failed to do after Scottie Barnes’ attempt from halfcourt sailed wide.
Young had a golden chance to make up for his painful mistake; the Hawks star was able to freeze Bruce Brown on a nasty hesitation before he uncorked a scoop shot that bounced high off the backboard and out, leading to Bey’s rebound. But this, however, was a bit deliberate from Young, as per his words in his postgame presser.
“I just saw an opening and space on the right side, I was trying to hesitate a little bit to make him think that I was going to shoot it so he could step out and I could get to my right hand and get downhill. I tried to slow down a little bit to make Scottie Barnes hesitate about fully coming over, so I had a good look. But it was great of our team,” Young said, per NBA Twitter (X), via ClutchPoints.
“We’re gonna have an opportunity to rebound… It worked out perfectly for us.”
Indeed, circumstances could have gone horribly wrong for Trae Young and the Hawks. With around 15 seconds left, all the Hawks needed to do was to take care of the basketball. That proved to be more difficult than they had envisioned; Jordan Nwora pressured Trae Young along the sidelines, forcing the point guard to throw the ball away.
Scottie Barnes then capitalized on Young’s turnover, nearly causing Hawks fans much heartbreak after letting the lead slip away in that fashion. Thankfully for the Hawks, Saddiq Bey, who had 26 points and 13 rebounds on the night, was at the right place at the right time to avert disaster.