Glen “Big Baby” Davis came barreling down the lane on Tuesday night, dribbling the basketball with all 289 pounds of him taking aim directly at Thaddeus Young.
Davis seemed stunned when Young timed his vertical leap perfectly to get in the air and block what would have been the go-ahead basket for the Magic with 2:11 to play in the fourth quarter.
With 33 seconds left, Young drove the lane himself just as Davis had done, only the Sixer forward’s quickness allowed him to leave his defender in the dust and make a left-hook bank shot.
Young’s shot was supposed to seal the game. As it turned out, that bucket only allowed the Sixers to reach the first overtime after Davis hit his first three-pointer in two years to force the extra session.
Young didn’t let that discourage him as he ended up with 25 points and 12 rebounds to help the Sixers claim a 126-125 win over the Magic in double overtime.
Young is 25 years old and playing for his fifth coach in seven years. He’s gone from starter to reserve and back to starter again during his career.
The lefty forward was allowed to shoot from the outside and then asked not to. Now that the door has been opened again under Sixers head coach Brett Brown.
Such a whirlwind might have frustrated other players, but Young has simply been able to take on every obstacle.
“I feel like he is starting to figure out how his new coach is going to use him and him use himself,” Brown said. “I see the evolution of him slowly embracing roles and accepting how he can help the team.
Young flashed just how much he is adapting to Brown’s system during his stellar effort in Tuesday’s victory.
“He was fantastic. We are going to remember him catching and going on two big layups at big moments in the game,” Brown said. “We are going to remember him stepping out and making some threes.”
“But what I remember is him engaged in timeouts and making sure all the young guys are on point with our pick-and-roll defense and how we are going to guard the post and him making sure he would perfectly execute whatever play we drew. He was engaged right across the board and he showed tremendous character, tremendous leadership, and the stats will show skill.”
At 25, Young is still youthful in age and an elder statesman all at the same time. While he has come to grips with another new coaching style, Young has also realized that he must now be the one to help instruct teammates put them on the right path.
“It is definitely different. We have a lot more young guys, so paying attention to detail in timeouts and coming into games, knowing the scouting reports, that is huge,” Young said. “When a team figures out a weak link, they are going to take advantage. When they figure out which weakness ours is, they will take advantage of us. So we can ill afford miscues.”