Feature Image: David Dow/NBAE/Getty Images
Behind an awful second half, the Atlanta Hawks were defeated 60-71 by the Washington Wizards in Las Vegas Summer League. The Hawks, who led by at least 17 points in the third quarter, were outscored 46-23 in the second half (which included a 30-8 Washington run) and 26-12 in the fourth quarter.
The loss means the Hawks will not advance to the quarter finals of the tournament phase, but their run in Vegas is not over yet. They will now duke it out with Memphis in the consolation bracket later today, 8 p.m ET.
Although the final result is a disappointing one, there were plenty of positives to be had. Specifically, the performances of Edy Tavares and Taurean Prince.
The Edy Tavares Show
Edy Tavares put on a shot blocking clinic yesterday with five blocked shots, four of which came in the first half. Apparently the Wizards didn’t get the 7″3 warning not to come into Atlanta’s paint…
Check out Edy’s highlight reel from this game, oh my goodness, there were some absolute gems…
Man, why’d you have to do Kelly Oubre dirty like that, Edy?? He just stuffed Oubre yesterday, but Oubre would ultimately have the last laugh…
In amongst that montage, again, was Edy’s effectiveness in the paint on the offensive end. He showed his soft hands off for all to see, that catch off of the pass from Taurean Prince was beautiful. He also delivered a beauty of a pass, himself, to DeAndre’ Bembry, after Bembry threw a tough pass for Edy to collect.
Nice recovery from Edy, and Bembry too who kept moving while the defense stood still and he made amends for that errant pass to Edy.
Edy eventually finished with eight points, seven rebounds, five blocks, an assists, and a steal.
Prince defensive fears allayed
Knowing that Taurean Prince played in a weird, zone defensive scheme at Baylor and seeing how evident that was in his first Summer League game, I have to say I was worried. I was worried about Prince’s defense, feared that it was just because of the zone defense Baylor played that helped him to excel on that end of the floor.
I just wanted to see him play some one-on-one defense, NBA defense, just to confirm the assumption that everyone (including me) who watched him had: that he would be a good defender in a normal defensive scheme and he’d adjust fine to the NBA given time to break out of that zone mindset.
Yesterday, those fears of mine were allayed: he was fantastic on the defense end. He came up with so many defensive plays.
Here, Prince initially finds himself way too distant from Oubre. He recovers well, meets him at the three-point line, does a great job changing his direction and momentum (as Oubre was hoping to catch him out by using his forward momentum to get past Prince, who would have to change direction) as he moves with the driving Oubre, does a great job moving his feet to stick with him all the way, and Oubre is challenged by Tavares near the rim. That’s the first phase of this defensive possession over.
The ball bobbles, Oubre collects it, and heads to the wing. Prince basically shoves Brandon Ashley out of the way as he prepares himself for the second phase of this defensive possession — a straight up duke. Oubre sizes up Prince, and tries to drive past him again. Just like the first attempt, Prince’s footwork is immaculate, and Oubre simply cannot drive past his man. Prince forces Oubre toward the baseline, where he forces up a tough shot which Prince easily blocks.
On top of all of that, Prince’s defense leads to offense. He’s able to collect the blocked shot and pushes in transition. He finds Bryce Cotton for the open three, but it’s offline. Even still, a great sequence from Taurean Prince.
With the defense caught on their heels in transition, Prince does a great job positioning himself and times his block to perfection.
See ya later.
Again, Prince makes life Kelly Oubre very difficult. Just as before, Oubre is unable get past Prince, who then manages to further disrupt him by knocking the ball out of his hands. Oubre collects it, and jacks up an ill-advised shot with Prince right there in his grill and it’s off.
With the Wizards down 17 in the third quarter, they desperately needed a bucket, but it wasn’t going to come on this possession. Prince, again, is draped all over Oubre, who again takes a very tough, contested shot which is no good.
With Prince right up in his grill, that’s just a bad shot.
With the Hawks trailing by four points, with just over two minutes remaining, they’re in need of a stop as this game has completely got away from them — their 17 point lead a very distant memory. Out of the timeout, they get it, with Prince jostling himself ahead of Oubre to pick off the pass directed to Oubre, and Bembry is fouled in transition.
A critical stop at a critical point in the game.
And, finally, to round off, in garbage time (the game is comprehensively lost) Prince adds another block to his total after Aaron White decided to tried to add to Washington’s total at the end of the shot clock.
No points at the end of the shot clock, just a shot blocked.
In the end, Prince finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, four steals, two assists, and two blocks
It wasn’t the result the Hawks wanted, but they can seriously be encouraged with the overall play of Taurean Prince. The only knock I would have of Prince at this point is his turnover rate. After turning the ball over five times against the Kings, he turned it over another five today. But as far as it comes to the end of the floor that he’ll make the most difference to the Hawks, the defensive end, Prince was fantastic.
We’ll see him, as well as DeAndre’ Bembry and Edy Tavares, in action at least one more time in Las Vegas, versus Memphis today at 8 p.m ET.