The Orlando Magic are slated to face off against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night in what will be another must-win matchup for them as they look to secure a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.
Magic head coach Steve Clifford spoke to the media, and admitted that his biggest concern coming into the contest is rookie Trae Young and his ability to take advantage of the pick-and-roll.
.@OrlandoMagic coach Steve Clifford said his biggest concern tonight vs. @ATLHawks is PG Trae Young’s superior decision-making out of pick-and-roll plays. He can shoot the long 3 if guards go under the screen and if they trail, his floater game has improved.
— John Denton (@JohnDenton555) April 5, 2019
Coach Clifford is definitely right to be wary of the 20-year-old Hawks point guard, as Young has been on an absolute surge of late. Over the last 10 contests, the former Oklahoma standout is averaging 24.1 points (on 46.1 percent shooting), 2.2 three-pointers, 4.5 rebounds, 9.6 assists, and 1.0 steals.
Young is on a mad dash to the finish line as he hopes to topple Dallas Mavericks rookie sensation Luka Doncic for the esteemed Rookie of the Year award.
As for the Magic, they are currently tied with the Brooklyn Nets for the seventh spot in the East. However, the ninth-placed Miami Heat are just half a game behind, and a slip up from the Magic at this point will almost certainly spell disaster.
The quest for a playoff spot continues on Friday, and a matchup against a 29-50 Hawks side will arguably be the easiest of their last three contests. After the Hawks, Orlando will be closing out the season with a matchup against the Boston Celtics on Sunday and a battle with the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, with both games on the road.