Kent Bazemore scored 12 points (5-8 FG, 2-3 3Pt) and pulled down five rebounds over 20 minutes in Wednesday's win over the Cavaliers.
With Thabo Sefolosha (leg) in New York to testify in defense of the three misdemeanor charges he received last spring, Bazemore entered the starting lineup at shooting guard. Sefolosha's legal situation is expected to be resolved within a few days, but he's still recovering from a broken fibula and other ligament damage, which could sideline him for the beginning of the season. If that's the case, Bazemore could make a push for around 20-to-25 minutes per game in the early going, putting him on the radar in deeper leagues and as a cheap daily option.
If Carroll does not play, Bazemore will undoubtedly have the task of defending Cavs forward LeBron James. Bazemore, though, is not shying away from that challenge.
“It’s great,” Bazemore said. “It’s a great platform to show what you can do. They brought me here as a defender and that’s my job. What a great measuring stick to go up against one of the best. … It’s tough but it’s what you sign up for. It’s a challenge I love. I love guarding the best players. I’ve been doing it all my life. This is no different. The tools I have and the preparation up to this point, I think I’ve prepared myself to do a good job.”
Bazemore is averaging 4.2 points and 2.8 rebounds per game during the playoffs.
Bazeman shot 7 for 14 from the floor and grabbed five rebounds in the defeat.
''I did get some pull-up jumpers to go down and shot some 3s,'' said Bazemore, who was 3 of 7 on 3-pointers. ''For me, coming off the injuries and the long year I've had, it's pretty encouraging.''
If Carroll can't play,
The Hawks are riding a 19-game winning streak and are 3.5 point favorites on the road for Monday's game.
Bazemore went from unrecruited high school player to practice player at Old Dominion. "I didn’t score in practice until like February," he told Matt Winkeljohn of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Undrafted and toiling in the D-League, he earned the attention of Hawks assistant GM Wes Wilcox through his work ethic and his "desperation to be great".
The Hawks signed Bazemore during the offseason, after he spent parts of the previous two years with the Warriors and Lakers.
Recovering from offseason foot surgery, Bazemore played limited minutes early on and found himself buried in the Hawks' rotation. A left Achilles strain to starting SG
Bazemore scored 12 points in 40 minutes off the bench against the trailblazers, earning his first Hawks start on Saturday. He shot 1-for-6, scoring 3 points in the game. Bazemore said starting was an adjustment, but not one that will slow him down.
"It’s different physically,” he told Winkeljohn. “You have to find ways when you’re fatigued and your shot is not falling to help. … I only have one gear, I think, and if I’m out there trying to pace, I’m not going to be as aggressive as I can be."
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