In a sloppy game, as is the norm at Summer League, the Hawks defeated the Miami Heat 75-71 on a Mike Scott three pointer with about 15 seconds left in the game. John Jenkins led all scorers with 19 points along with four rebounds on 6-of-14 shooting. Jenkins has been given the green-light offensively and has taken advantage in the first two games, being very aggressive on the offensive end. Jenkins discussed his aggressive play on offense, and his commitment on the defensive end."
"I felt like it was self explanatory, I'm one of the older guys on the team. I felt like I'm capable of scoring and I want to do that for the team, and play defense too. It starts with me, I'm the leader of the team, me and MIke, whenever I play defense it's contagious I guess. So, I tried to start it off the second half, and Dennis started off great at the top. We denied, we helped out on ball screens and looked good out there."
The Hawks could not buy a bucket early in the game, but were able to get into a rhythm in the middle of the second quarter. Jenkins explained what they were able to change and do differently after the first quarter.
"I think in the beginning they were all up in us, so it was hard for me and the rest of us to get going. I was forcing some shots early, in the second half I settled in, started hitting my shots and Mike hit a big three at the end, and we played great defense the rest of the way, the whole second half."
Mike Scott added 13 points of his own, including a three-pointer that gave the Hawks a 73-70 lead with around 15 seconds to play in the game. Scott went 6-for-12 on the night, and showed a good mixture of jumpers and shots at the rim.
"[The three pointer] was something I've been working on during the summer, so Dennis saw me, I had to shoot it and I'm glad I made it. We picked up the defensive intensity. You know, this is a scrappy team, scrappy game, so we just had to play as hard as they did. We got open shots, we got good looks in the first half, I know I got some easy looks, just missed them. You're going to get those, in the second half they started to fall."
As for the rookies, Scott likes what he's seen so far.
"I like them a lot. You know Dennis, I thought he played too cool in the first game. He showed that he can definitely play in this league in this game, and Lucas, he's just long and athletic so I like him too."
Dennis Schröder led the way for the Hawks on the defensive end racking up four steals on the night and was a disruptive force on the perimeter. Schröder, who struggled with pick-and-roll defense in the first game, seemed to do a better job fighting through screens on this evening. Schröder did a little bit of everything on the night with nine points, eight assists, four rebounds, and the four steals. He seemed to settle down after looking rushed in the first game, and appeared to be much more comfortable on both ends of the floor. Dennis spoke after the game about his defensive performance, and his growing comfort level with the NBA pace and the rest of his teammates.
"I think I tried to step up on defense. What we gave up, [Friday], was too many points, so I set my tone on defense and the others do it too. It was my first game yesterday, so, today I feel comfortable and I think every game it's getting better, and try to get my teammates better, try to find them open for the shot. I think [the pace of the game] fits me. In Europe, it's different, but the NBA game fits me very well."
Lucas Nogueira had eight points, four rebounds, and two blocks in a solid performance. Nogueira still has a lot of work to do in becoming a better defender and post-player, but his length and athleticism continue to allow him to be successful. Fellow rookie Mike Muscala added six points, three boards, and three blocks, and looked very solid on the defensive end. Muscala discussed how the team defense helped them settle in offensively in the second half.
"Offensively, I think we just got in a better flow, but I think it was big defensively, I think they got up 10 points in the first quarter and got off to a quick start and then we really shut them down. I think we all played really good defense. I think it starts with the guards and their pick and roll defense. They did a good job forcing them down, and the bigs all did a great job hedging, showing, and then rebounding."
The chemistry among the young players is building and as they become more comfortable with each other off the court, their on-court relationship has improved.
"I think we're almost like best friends off the court," said Jenkins, "and on the court we're gelling pretty well, it's only been two games and it's going pretty well."
"It's getting better," said Muscala. "I think we're all gelling, and knowing what our strengths and weaknesses are, so it was a lot better today."