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McCall continues to shine as Hawks fall to Wizards

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Not an entertaining game, one which the Hawks lost on Thursday afternoon.

2019 Las Vegas Summer League - Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

After picking up a victory on Tuesday night, the Atlanta Hawks did not follow that with another one, losing their third game of Las Vegas Summer League on Thursday afternoon to the Washington Wizards, 71-76, in the final preliminary game before the consolation game.

In what was a largely unentertaining game that the Hawks led for the majority of the way. Atlanta then let it slip in the fourth quarter, their matters being compounded on the unfortunate end of a tough officiating call where Jaylen Adams was called for a foul on Justin Robinson falling over with the Hawks down by three, the game was then iced at the free throw line by Washington.

Pretty poor, but that’s what was called...

For the game itself, again, it was not a pretty affair.

Both teams shot below 40% from the field, both teams committed more turnovers than dished assists (22 turnovers for the Hawks on the night), neither team scored 25 points in a quarter, and as mentioned the Hawks led most of the way until the fourth quarter before letting it get away.

Hawks Summer League coach Greg Foster was not too impressed postgame with how his team played.

“Sloppy, we were a little bit sloppy” said Foster when asked of his impressions of the game. “22 turnovers, some young mistakes — guys stepping out of bounds, guys throwing careless passes — can’t win when you have 22 turnovers.

“They banged the offensive glass, I think they had 16 second chance points. We knew that’s what they did and I don’t think we did a very good job controlling the defensive glass.”

Once again, fourth overall selection De’Andre Hunter missed out with a knee injury — which, again, was reaffirmed as ‘nothing serious’ — and unlike Tuesday’s game, there weren’t as many positives to take away from this game.

But certainly a few to go over, so let’s get to it.

As he has done for the duration of Summer League, it was Tahjere McCall who continued to impress — scoring 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field, 2-of-2 from three and collected nine rebounds in 33 minutes.

McCall seemed to take on a bit more of an offensive role in yesterday’s game (certainly when it came to ball-handling), and scored some impressive buckets, including, somehow, tipping in this tough offensive rebound off of his own miss, plus the foul:

What this Twitter clip doesn’t show is the nice cut McCall made beforehand to get himself in position:

So, why show the original? Well, let’s just say I wasn’t a fan of the in-game shot they used on this play... Still doesn’t take away from the toughness of that bucket. McCall was pumped after making that basket and you can see why.

Here was another great bucket from McCall, finishing the layup after on this drive:

That drive is legit, McCall did a great job with the hesitation before continuing his drive to finish.

McCall also had the outside shot on his side in this game, converting both of his three-point attempts, including this one near the beginning of the game off of the assist from Bruno Fernando:

For this three-pointer, McCall drifts to the corner in transition and knocks down the rhythm three:

You look at that clip and probably don’t see anything major but not everyone will flash to the corner in those situations, getting drawn a bit more to the ball than the space in the corner, especially in Summer League.

As you’d imagine, McCall also enjoyed good defensive moments in this game — not as many, mind you, as previous games but still had some moments that stood out.

Here, in a 2-v-1 situation on defense, McCall somehow manages to win out, not only preventing the basket but also seeing possession of the ball return to the Hawks:

To be fair, the Wizards obviously did their bit to blow this opportunity but McCall’s presence and jerkiness certainly didn’t make things easier.

On this defensive possession, McCall picks up his man beyond half-court, makes life tricky and helps force the miss on the eventual shot:

As a secondary defender, McCall knows when to come over and pry this ball away from Mo Wagner, coming up with the steal:

It wasn’t all roses, however.

McCall committed five turnovers in this game (something, to his credit, he owned postgame) somewhat a byproduct of his seemingly increased role handling the ball. He did make some plays but registered zero assists on the game — some of that having to do with the fact his teammates missed shots.

But there were times where he was a little ahead of his teammates and this contributed to turnovers.

Here’s an example — McCall looks to execute a pick-and-roll with Reid Travis. After the screen, McCall expected Travis to roll, but he didn’t and the pass from McCall results in a turnover:

Travis has to show the awareness/instinct to roll in that situation, and that turnover is caused because McCall is expecting the roll — so I certainly wouldn’t lay the blame on McCall for that turnover because Travis has to roll there, that’s on him.

Here’s another view from the trialled ‘Smartphone Broadcast’, which actually had its moments:

For plays like that, you can see the benefit of this feature where it allows a closer look from floor-level. It has its flaws as a whole but would offer an interesting replay angle or just an alternate angle for specific plays (and even preparing this I found myself looking a few times at it).

However, there were turnovers that McCall was definitely responsible for, such as this play where his behind the back pass finds itself sailing out of bounds:

I do think McCall has playmaking attributes to his game that are maybe slightly better than he has shown in Las Vegas so far, and I’m willing to put some of that down to his teammates — whether it’s being able to see the play happening or just being able to hit shots.

Again, as a whole, he has been a standout, even if he tailed off a bit in the second half in this game.

But as McCall tailed off somewhat in the second half, two-way signee Charlie Brown certainly ramped up his activity in the second half.

After a very quiet first half where he scored just three points, Brown ended up leading the team in scoring with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 from three — joining McCall as the only other Hawk to register double-digit scoring (yup, that’s how bad this game was).

Again, Brown continued to display his confidence shooting the ball as he opened proceedings for the Hawks with this very confident attempt:

“...Ultimately he’s fearless,” said coach Foster of Brown. “He’s not scared to take the big shot...”

And this fearlessness is something Brown owns.

“To play in this league, to play against these great players you got to have confidence, you got to believe in yourself and believe in your teammates and that’s what I’m all about,” said Brown postgame.

After an unsuccessful outing from behind the arc last time out, Brown turned that around in this contest by hitting three of his four three-point attempts and that first one got the ball rolling for the Hawks — a very slow moving ball but he got it rolling nevertheless.

Brown continued to show his smoothness as an offensive player, hitting the baseline jumper on this possession:

On this play, Brown was the beneficiary of a good drive and pass from Jaylen Adams, leaving Brown the easy task of finishing with his left hand at the rim:

Brown scored 16 points but it wasn’t as flashy of a game as his debut — the main takeaway being the fact he hit three three-pointers on four attempts.

Elsewhere, Bruno Fernando didn’t have the greatest game, scoring two points on 1-of-6 shooting, picking up three rebounds but did come up with four steals and three blocks.

The shooting obviously wasn’t great but I was impressed with how he got into some of those shots.

Here, Fernando drives from the three-point line, side-steps to his left, rises and misses the jump shot:

Again, you have to be encouraged seeing Fernando get to his spot like that, even if he missed the shot on this occasion.

For the two points Fernando did score, he drives on Rui Hachimura, absorbs the contact and hits his runner:

Again, Fernando showed some flashes of a shot blocker, coming from behind on this possession to deny the Wizards:

Here was another encouraging defensive play as Fernando is alert to the cutter on the wing, steps over and intercepts the intended pass to said cutter and comes up with the steal:

That was a super encouraging play from a defensive aspect, for him to read that play and take action.

Jaylen Adams is again worth a mention but in a slightly more positive light this time.

After starting his game with an airball, Adams would enjoy a bit of a more successful game this time around — at least from a playmaking perspective, because he did shoot 1-of-8 from the field... Adams dished out nine assists and zero turnovers on the game, so he at least did that right but, again, the shooting was not good.

Elsewhere, normal service was resumed for Jordan Sibert who scored nine points on 3-of-14 shooting from the field and 3-of-11 from three.

Not a ton else to mention from this game — it was honestly awful, even though the fourth quarter was, by far, the most entertaining. The Wizards scored 24 points in the final quarter and that was the most points scored by either team in a quarter and that tells you everything you need to know.

The Hawks will finish their Summer League campaign tonight as they play their consolation game against the San Antonio Spurs at 10:30 ET, if you can stomach one more showing from these Summer Hawks, who haven’t been the most fun to watch this year — De’Andre Hunter missing three of these games certainly hasn’t helped.

The status of Hunter, again, is to be confirmed ahead of tonight’s game but it would at least make this last game somewhat more bearable if he were to feature.

We shall see.

Until next time...