Blazers Beat Hawks Again To Remain Undefeated And Advance To Summer League Quarterfinals

by Casey Holdahl
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Most people are more than ready to head home after spending a week in Las Vegas. That has not been the case for the Portland Trail Blazers, a team that looks like they’d be perfectly happy to extend their stay in the desert for as long as possible.

Behind the 20-point performances from Jake Layman and Anfernee Simons, the two-seed Trail Blazers remained undefeated in Las Vegas by defeating the 18-seed Atlanta Hawks 95-69 in the second round of the summer league tournament Thursday night at Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV.

With the victory, the Trail Blazers are now 4-0 in summer league play. They now advance to the quarterfinals to play the winner of Celtics vs. Heat.

Thursday’s game was the second time that the Trail Blazers and Hawks met at the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League, and the results were pretty much the same as the first. After getting off to a slow start, Portland went on a 15-0 run, capped by a three-pointer from Simons, to take a 17-5 lead with 4:24 to play in the first quarter.

The Hawks, playing on the second game of a back-to-back and without Trae Young and John Collins, pushed back in the second quarter and even cut Portland’s lead to 39-38 thanks to five-straight points from Omari Spellman with 2:25 to play in the first half. The Trail Blazers would finish the half on a mini 9-3 run to push the lead to 48-41 at the halftime intermission.

It was all Portland in the second half, with the two-seed outscoring Atlanta 47-28 to coast to a double-digit victory, the Trail Blazers’ third in four games in Las Vegas.

Layman scored Portland’s first eight points before finishing with 20 on 8-of-13 shooting from the field to go with five rebounds, two steals and an assist in 24 minutes. The 6-9 forward went 4-of-5 from three, a continuation of his hot shooting from distance in Las Vegas.

Simons turned in yet another confidence-building performance, going 6-of-10 from the field and 3-of-7 from three for 20 points, four rebounds, one assist and one steal in 18 minutes. The rookie out of IMG Academy is averaging 12.8 points on 47 percent shooting, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals at summer league.

Wade Baldwin IV continued his strong play at summer league, shooting 50 percent from the field for 15 points, eight assists and six rebounds in 22 minutes. Baldwin IV currently first in assists at summer league with 8.0 helpers per game.

Zach Collins returned to the lineup after missing Portland’s last game with a sprained right ankle. He started and finished with eight points, six rebounds, three blocks, two steals and an assist in 21 minutes.

Gary Trent Jr. and K.J. McDaniels each finished with 10 points off the bench.

Next up, the Trail Blazers now have two days off before facing the winner of Celtics vs. Heat in the Las Vegas Summer League quarterfinals. That game is scheduled for Sunday at 5 p.m.