Thanks to a great start to Summer League play, the Wizards earned a first-round bye in the Las Vegas. But as fate would have it, they’ll be pitted against the only team that knocked them off during pool play: The Atlanta Hawks, who advanced after a convincing win over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday afternoon.
Washington has some areas where they can improve from the first time they played against Atlanta on Sunday. The Wizards fell behind by 18 in the first half, but whittled the deficit down to one point before ultimately losing by eight.
Part of the reason for the team’s struggles were the rotation changes the team made for that game, giving the minutes they usually gave to Sterling Gibbs, Shawn Dawson, and Daniel Ochefu to Nate Wolters, James Nunnally, and Kaleb Tarczewski. With more on the line in Thursday’s game, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Wizards go back to the rotation that worked effectively against Utah and Brooklyn.
At the same time, the Hawks will also have some extra firepower they didn’t get to use on Sunday. Taurean Prince, the 12th overall pick in this year’s draft, wasn’t able to play in Sunday’s game because Atlanta’s trade to acquire him hadn’t officially gone through yet. In the two games he’s played since the trade became official, he’s averaging 14.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game while shooting 45.4 percent from the field.
The winner of Thursday’s game will advance to the quarterfinals on Saturday. There they will either take on the winner of Thursday's Bulls-Mavericks game.
The loser of the Wizards-Hawks game will play a consolation game on Friday.
When: Thursday, July 14 at 4:00 pm EST
Where: Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada
TV: The game can also be streamed on WatchESPN.