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Martin takes over fourth quarter as Hawks notch Summer League victory over Timberwolves

14 points in the final period for Martin as he stabilized the Hawks following a tough third quarter.

2023 NBA Summer League - Minnesota Timberwolves v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

The Atlanta Hawks continued their Summer League adventure on Wednesday afternoon with a 99-93 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Tyrese Martin led all scorers with 25 points, while Seth Lundy added 14 points off the bench for the Hawks, who were without AJ Griffin in this game. For the Wolves, Brandon Williams scored 23 points with Leonard Miller adding 18.

For the game itself — for as much as that counts for anything in Summer League — it was the Hawks’ three-point shooting that maintained an advantage over the Wolves for the first half, with Lundy in particular finding form from distance:

Lundy wasn’t shy shooting the ball — and this was reflected somewhat in a shot or two being swatted down — but the confidence he has to let it fly with little hesitation (and he still shot 4-of-8) is encouraging to see with more work on his shot to come.

Lundy finished with 14 points on 4-of-10 shooting from the field and 4-of-8 from three in just under 17 minutes of action.

The three-point shooting sustained the Hawks, but in the third quarter the Hawks shot just 4-of-18 from the field to the Wolves’ 13-of-18 yet were only outscored by the Wolves 29-20. This was thanks to the Hawks’ free throw shooting: 11-of-11 in the third quarter alone compared to the Wolves’ 1-of-2. For the game, the Wolves shot 11-of-16 from the line compared to the Hawks’ 26-of-33 from the line, with seven coming from Kobe Bufkin alone.

After a solid bounce-back game, Bufkin looked as though he was heading for another strong game after a good start to the first quarter, but this proved to be a false dawn and Bufkin finished with 13 points on 3-of-13 shooting from the field, 0-of-3 from three and 7-of-9 from the free throw line.

The free throw shooting was a plus to see, but Bufkin tried a little too hard at times to get a shot up and the shot quality on these weren’t always stellar — if it didn’t lead to a turnover of which Bufkin had five. It’s a shame his game ended up heading in this direction because things were looking strong early on and his aggression was resulting in some good baskets in the first quarter.

Another of the Hawks’ draft selections, Mouhamed Gueye, didn’t fare a ton better in terms of his efficiency, scoring 11 points on 2-of-8 shooting, 0-of-2 from three but did shoot 7-of-7 from the free throw line to help buff his scoring total, similar to Bufkin.

Of the two baskets Gueye did score, one was this smooth turnaround jumper plus the foul:

Gueye also had a strong block (one of two for the game) to finish the game but overall I don’t think he had a particularly great game. But 11 points, six rebounds, three assists, a steal and two blocks despite that is encouraging to see.

His front-court partner Mfiondu Kabengele I thought may have not had the boxscore like Gueye but had a strong impact on the game nevertheless. Kabengele was active defensively, on the boards and on hustle plays, including an important one towards the end of the game where he was fouled going for the ball and shot some important free throws in a close game.

Vit Krejci’s game ended up being decent in the end. Though he may have scored just six points on 2-of-6 shooting, he did rack up six assists and was a game-high plus-19.

Outside of that, there were debut games this week for Tyson Etienne, David Singleton and Uros Plavsic, but the star of the show was Tyrese Martin.

Martin scored 25 points (14 of them in the final quarter) on 9-of-15 from the field, 2-of-5 from three and 5-of-7 from the free throw line to go with nine rebounds and three assists.

“Just didn’t want to lose,” said Martin of his fourth quarter. “Anything to win this game, whether it’s offensive rebounds, extra passes or getting to the rim like I did.”

The difference between Martin and Bufkin was poise and patience. Martin always seemed to be calm and in control and picked his moments. For the first three quarters and when it came time for some baskets in the fourth quarter Martin maintained that control and displayed finesse around the rim. You could just tell he’d had that bit more experience compared to those around him and that was enough to steer the Hawks to victory.

“We just had to calm down,” said Martin of the Hawks recovering after the Wolves took the lead in the third quarter. “It’s a game of runs, they went on a run. We had the youngins in the game at the time, I feel like they got rattled a little bit but coach called the timeout, made some subs and I feel like we calmed down and played our game the right way.”

The Hawks (2-1) are back in action on Thursday afternoon when they take on the Philadelphia 76ers (1-1).

Until next time...