The Atlanta Hawks will not be champions of the 2016 Las Vegas Summer League. On Thursday, the team played well for the majority of three quarters, but the closing period was an ugly one and the Hawks fell short in a 71-60 loss to the Washington Wizards.
For what seems like the millionth time in Las Vegas, the Hawks got off to a smashing start on Thursday. Atlanta opened with a 6-0 run and gathered a 12-4 lead before the momentum was quelled in any way.
Washington did have an answer in the form of an 11-0 spurt immediately after, but that was the end of positivity for the Wizards prior to halftime. The Hawks opened the second quarter with a 13-1 blitz of their own and never looked back. As of halftime, Atlanta held a 37-25 lead and the Wizards were shooting a lackluster 24% from the field to facilitate that gap.
After the break, though, things did not go nearly as well for the Hawks. Atlanta did begin the second half with the first five points to grab a 17-point lead, but from there, it was all Wizards for the remainder of the third. Kelly Oubre Jr. led the charge for Washington on an 18-4 run and, in the blink of an eye, it was just a three-point advantage for the Hawks with 10 minutes to play.
The collapse continued into the fourth quarter as well, with Washington’s push increasing to 30-8 as the Wizards claimed the lead in the early stages of the closing period. The Hawks would stabilize things considerably on the defensive end, but offensively, it was an adventure to stay the least, with Atlanta unable to capitalize on opportunities to close the gap.
Still, it was not to be. Jarell Eddie (a Hawks legend, in his own right) knocked down a dagger in the final two minutes and Atlanta went down with a whimper. All told, it was an 11-point defeat despite the fact that the game was (much) more competitive than that for 38 minutes.
While the result was less than spectacular, there were a few standout performances on Atlanta’s side. Edy Tavares was a defensive terror throughout the day, finishing with five blocked shots to go along with eight points and seven rebounds, and there were flashes of effectiveness from Taurean Prince (10 points, 7 rebounds) and DeAndre Bembry (9 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists), among others.
With the loss on Thursday, the Hawks are eliminated from championship contention, but the team’s run in Las Vegas isn’t over quite yet. Atlanta will play on Friday at 8:00 pm ET against the loser of Thursday’s game between the Grizzlies and Wolves in the consolation bracket.