The Atlanta Hawks kicked off their NBA Summer League journey on Saturday evening with a match-up against old pal Darvin Ham and the Milwaukee Bucks. Unfortunately, the Hawks were (very) short-handed and, after 40 minutes of good, old-fashioned basketball action, Atlanta succumbed to Milwaukee in an 89-83 defeat.
Prior to tip-off, Jaylen Adams (sore toe) and Charlie Brown (sore hip) were ruled out for the Hawks, and 2019 draftees De’Andre Hunter and Bruno Fernando were not available due to trade machinations. As such, 2018 first round pick Omari Spellman was the only member of the projected 2019-20 roster in action for Atlanta, and that removed a little bit of luster from the proceedings.
The early going was kind to the Hawks, including a 9-0 run to open the game.
Atlanta scored 27 points in the first quarter (10 minutes) and, in general, the energy level was high for a team playing with a thin roster.
Greg Foster’s team led by as many as 14 points in the first half and they did so with balanced scoring. Six players scored six points or more before the break and Atlanta was led by Jordan Sibert (12 points) and Matt Mooney (9 points).
The third quarter was less appetizing for Atlanta, with the team’s lead dipping to just six points. There were still positive moments, however, headlined by the work of Tahjere McCall. McCall was a defensive force throughout the game and the former Tennessee State standout flashed impressive two-way ability.
As for the closing period, the Bucks quickly erased the Hawks’ lead, taking control (for the first time in the game) around the seven-minute mark. Things were competitive from there, with the score tied at the three-minute mark, but Milwaukee executed from there and emerged victorious.
Sibert led the team in scoring with 22 points, but it was McCall (16 points on 6-of-8 shooting, seven rebounds) that emerged as the day one standout. Spellman enjoyed a strong first half before cooling off a bit and the team’s overall efficiency sharply declined after the halftime break.
The Hawks will return to action on Sunday evening with a match-up against the Minnesota Timberwolves at 5:30 pm ET and, while unclear at this point, it is at least possible that Atlanta’s available roster could be more robust for game two. Stay tuned.