Nick Young used to be a player who would miss his first few shots, then sulk through the rest of the game. If he started cold, he stayed cold and could never move on.
But he has matured plenty since becoming a regular starter and has routinely used sluggish starts as a challenge to have heroic finishes. His latest example was on Wednesday in Orlando, where Young spent most of the night in foul trouble and was ineffective in his time on the floor – until the fourth quarter.
Young scored 20 of his game-high 24 points in the final period, helping the Wizards rally from a 12-point deficit to get within four points in the final minute. He became the first Wizard to score at least 20 points in a quarter since Caron Butler had a 21-point third-quarter in Orlando on Jan. 6. 2009. The last Wizard with 20 or more points in the fourth quarter was Larry Hughes, who scored 21 of his 33 in the fourth quarter of an overtime victory over Toronto on Nov. 28, 2004.
“I just felt I was letting them down,” said Young, who played just 10 minutes in the first three quarters because he had four fouls. “I was trying anything possible to get it going. It was a blessing I got it going in the fourth quarter.”
Young has had a few ferocious finishes this season. He scored scoring 19 of his 24 points in the final 17 minutes of the Wizards’ 105-102 win over Oklahoma City. He also had 12 of his 17 points in the final period against Chicago, as the Wizards trimmed a 22-point deficit down to eight.
After Glen “Big Baby” Davis made a three-pointer to give the Magic an 89-77 lead in the fourth quarter on Wednesday, Young converted his second four-point play of the season and sparked the rally. He connected on four three-pointers in the quarter, as the Wizards got within 104-100 with 35.6 seconds left. Young said Maurice Evans, Roger Mason Jr. and other teammates encouraged him to keep his head up through his early struggles and look ahead to the next shot.
“Just happy I got players that believe in me and uplift me. I didn’t get down on myself,” he said.