On Thursday night, the Houston Rockets defeated the Atlanta Hawks, 122-115, with both James Harden and Trae Young registering 40-point triple-doubles; the first time opposing players have accomplished this feat in the same game.
This season, both Harden and Young have been on a stat-stuffing frenzy, with both players routinely leading their teams in scoring and assisting. Harden is averaging 38.5 points, 7.6 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game on 46-38-86 shooting splits. Young is averaging 29.2 points, 8.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game on 45-38-85 shooting splits.
Young isn’t in the same stratosphere as Harden in three-point or free throw attempts, but the young guard (no pun intended. Okay, pun intended) is relishing on his opportunities to showcase his elite offensive skills and the arsenal he has at his disposal.
Against the Rockets, Young scored 43 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and dished 10 assists in a valiant losing effort. The Hawks were no match to Harden and the Rockets, as Harden combatted with 41 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. The matchup was comical, as both players combined for 20-of-64 shooting from the field, but 35-of-41 shooting from the foul line.
This is nothing unusual for Harden, as he attempts 12.6 free throws a game and 24.6 field goals a game, 13.7 of which are three pointers. Even the season-high eight turnovers Harden committed in the game is in his wheelhouse of skills, as he averages 4.8 turnovers a game this season.
With how limited the Hawks offense is, Young gets most of the attention. He averages 8.1 free throw attempts and 21.1 field goal attempts per game, 9.5 of which are three pointers. Young is on his way to being more comparable to Harden than Steph Curry, who he drew comparisons to in the draft.
Curry is more methodical and efficient with his offensive playmaking, looking to create the best shot for the team while keeping defenses honest on him. If Young wants to take his game to the next level, creating a more efficient and team-friendly atmosphere is the road less traveled that he needs to discover.