Portland Trail Blazers vs. Atlanta Hawks
Tip-off: 3:30 p.m. Thursday, July 17
Where: COX Pavilion, Las Vegas, Nevada
The Atlanta Hawks defeated the Golden State Warriors in Round 1 of the Las Vegas Summer League tournament yesterday, earning their first Summer League victory and the right to a rematch against the Portland Trail Blazers this afternoon. The Trail Blazers previously dispatched the Hawks (91-76) in a preliminary seeding game on Tuesday behind strong performances from C.J. McCollum, Will Barton, and Thomas Robinson. However; Robinson will miss today’s matchup due to a torn ligament in his right thumb. He was averaging 16.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
This could be a problem for the Trail Blazers who otherwise lack a strong presence on the interior. Fortunately, the haphazard pace of Summer League dictates a more guard oriented flow, so there is a good chance that Portland’s backcourt can pick up the slack. This game will likely be a battle between McCollum/Barton and opposing point guard, Dennis Schröder, who recorded a game-high 17 points against the Warriors. This is not to underestimate Atlanta rookie, Adreian Payne, who has paired well with returning center Mike Muscala down low.
The winner of this matchup will move on to the quarterfinals to face the winner of Cleveland Cavaliers (3) vs. Houston Rockets (14); the loser will drop into the consolation round. The Trail Blazers defeated the Rockets in the preliminaries (75-67), but would be hard-pressed to beat a Cavaliers team that includes two #1 draft picks (Andrew Wiggins & Anthony Bennett)—especially shorthanded. The Cavaliers/Rockets game will air live at 5:00 p.m. on NBATV and is worth some careful monitoring if the Trail Blazers pull off a second win against the Hawks beforehand.