Bembry, Prince shine but Hawks drop summer league opener

The Hawks dropped the opener of the Las Vegas Summer League with a 75-72 loss to the Nets Friday.

The Hawks dropped the opener of the Las Vegas Summer League with a 75-72 loss to the Nets Friday.

DeAndre Bembry and Taurean Prince are rookies no more.

The Hawks seasoned summer-league veterans combined for 36 points, nine rebounds and three assists in a 75-72 loss to the Nets in the opening game of the Las Vegas tournament on Friday. Bembry finished with 22 points on 10-of-17 shooting, and Prince finished with 14 points on 5-of-15 shooting in a game played at the Cox Pavilion on the campus of the UNLV. The two first-round draft picks from a year ago clearly separated themselves.

The Hawks scored the first seven points of the game but trailed by two points after the first quarter, 11 points after two quarters and 16 points after three quarters. The Nets led by as many as 19 points before the Hawks made a late charge.

“I thought there were a couple times during the game when we lost our identity, our focus,” Hawks summer league coach Charles Lee said. “The mantras that we have talked about since practices have started have been togetherness, competitiveness and I thought we lost that. There was a little too much hero ball. We let their physicality beat us up and take us out of what we wanted to do.”

The Hawks trailed by just a point, 73-72, with the ball in the final minutes. However, on their final possession, they turned the ball over, and the Nets converted a break for the final margin. The Hawks outscored the Nets 24-11 in the fourth quarter.

“Offensively, it well,” Bembry said. “We got back in the game in the fourth. I got a little bit aggressive, made some big plays, made some good passes. I ended up being aggressive on the offensive end today.”

John Collins, this year’s first-round draft pick, added eight points and 11 rebounds. The other two starts, Josh Magette and Richard Solomon, scored eight points each.

“I thought I did a solid job,” Collins said. “It could have been better since we lost. I can’t beat myself up too much. It’s my first game as a pro. It’s a learning experience. I’m going to get better from it.”

Lee said outside of Bembry and Prince, he was impressed with the play of Collins. He credited the leadership of Bembry and Prince, especially during timeouts. See, grizzled veterans.

The Hawks are off Saturday. They next play the Pelicans at 4 p.m. (ET) Sunday.