The Hawks played their best defensive game of the summer on Wednesday as they defeated the defending-LVSL champion Golden State Warriors 68-65 in the first round of the tournament. Here’s what I noticed:
- Dennis Schröder had another solid scoring output. He made two of his four attempts from beyond the arc, a shooting mark that is quite impressive from an inconsistent shooter like Dennis. His stroke in the first half looked so smooth and compact, but, alas, he finished the game going 5-for-15 from the field. Only four turnovers in the game, an improvement from the 12 total giveaways in his previous two Vegas outings.
- Shoutout to my man Mike Jawz. Mike Muscala dropped a cool 14 points with a few tasty spin moves in the lane. His improved ball-handling ability – something that you don’t often see in a lanky big – has been something that caught my eye from the first Summer League game. His defense remains fundamentally sound, but he still has trouble altering shots. Not sure what the problem is there, as his hands seem to always be in the right spot (or at least close enough) during the shot contest. The bottom line with Muscala is will do whatever he can to improve his game to fit the needs of the team. Next step? Three-point shooting, which he already does decently well.
- John Jenkins rested the second game of a back-to-back… again. I realize he was cleared to play recently and a back injury takes time to heal, but I’ve been very disappointed with his play in the Summer League. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still pulling for him to succeed. It’s just going to be harder to get opportunities like this during the regular season.
- Adreian Payne (AKA A-Payne, AKA The Payne Train, AKA Big Sparty) made half of his four three-point attempts, posting a nearly identical shooting line to Mike Muscala (4-9 shooting, 2-4 from deep; Jawz made four free-throws to Payne’s zero). But, hey! Nine boards to go with his two made threes! That’s what we want to see from a pick-and-pop big. He still looks a little lost sometimes, but I don’t expect that to be anything more than rookie confusion. Training camp should help with that.
- Walter Taveras is still extremely huge. He had three blocks in this game. Nothing else new to report.
- Lamar Patterson struggled with his shot in this one, missing all three of his long-range attempts. He didn’t find too many open looks in this one, however. More spacing should help with that. He proved he can still move the ball well, as he notched two assists – the same number as Schröder.
- It was a big game for Trevor Releford who totaled 14 points off the bench. He nailed three of his four made shots from beyond the arc and sank two big free-throws towards the end to help seal the deal for the Hawks.
- The Hawks take on the Trail Blazers (again…) in the next round of the Las Vegas Summer League Tournament on Thursday at 6:30 ET on NBA TV.