Keith Benson finally cooled off from his above 70% field goal percentage, going 2-9 in the Hawks’ 87-69 loss to the Boston Celtics. Atlanta is now 1-2 in Summer League play, and Benson, the leading scorer for the Hawks throughout the first 3 games, scored 10 points and reeled in 10 rebounds, all of which came in the first half.
The Hawks’ first round draft pick, John Jenkins, was guarded tightly by Boston’s Dionte Christmas for a majority of the game. Christmas chased Jenkins around picks, contested all three-pointers, and did everything he could to make things difficult for the Hawks’ first rounder. Still, Jenkins found ways to impress even when missing all 3 of his 3-point field goal attempts on an off shooting day. He scored 12 points and flaunted a ridiculously good pump fake, allowing him to get into the lane with relative ease. His handle was a little loose, but he still found ways to penetrate and make some impressive passes. The most important sign that Jenkins is ready for the NBA is his ability to move without the ball. He’s spectacular at coming off screens and cutting to the hoop. On several occasions he performed a hard v-cut, caught the ball outside the three-point line, flashed a pump fake that caught the defender in the air, and then got into the lane where he either pulled up or passed to an open man. He understands how to use his fantastic shot to his advantage, and with defenders always looking to close out hard, he seems to be embracing that as an opportunity to get a mid-range jumper or attack the basket.
Mike Scott played his best Summer League game thus far, but continued to struggle from the field. He shot 5-14, but impressed with a decent midrange jumper and solid defense in the pick and roll. He struggled from the free throw line, only making 2 out of 6 attempts, but was still a central figure in the Hawks’ offensive scheme.
The Celtics got behind early, but hung around thanks to some good free throw shooting. They crawled back from an early 8-point deficit and put the Hawks in an 18-point halftime hole. Jared Sullinger, Kris Joseph, and Dionte Christmas led the charge for them offensively, and Jamar Smith showed an impressive range on his shot.
Frank Hassell, Elijah Millsap, and Jordan Taylor were the only Hawks players from the second unit who inspired any confidence. They helped spark a Hawks run that cut the lead down to 8 points at 72-64, but after 2 missed fast break opportunities to cut the lead down even further, the Celtics regained some breathing room on a Christmas 3-pointer.
The Hawks have lost their last 2 games and will look to stop the bleeding on Wednesday night against the Dallas Mavericks.