2012 NBA Summer League: Day 1
Washington 82 Atlanta 102
After a year off, the NBA Summer League returned to Las Vegas with Atlanta and Washington kicking off this year’s schedule. Even though Kobe, Lebron & Durant had skipped town after pumping the Dominican Republic less than 24 hours ago, a strong crowd was on hand at Cox Pavilion to see the Hawks beat the Wizards 102-82.
The game featured the match up of two first round 2-guards with John Jenkins (23rd pick) and Bradley Beal (3rd pick) going head to head most of the game. Jenkins came out the winner, finishing with 19 points on 7/13 shooting 4/5 from long range. Jenkins was largely responsible for blowing the lead out early in the 2nd half , drilling back to back three’s, finishing a dunk on Beal with the foul and then throwing a lob to Keith Benson (19pts 6rebs). While Beal outscored him with 22 points (6/14fg 9/10FT), his outside shot wasn’t quite on today, struggling in warm-ups and throughout the game. He did show his prowess in the open court, defended well & also made a couple of nice passes.
2011 first round picks Jan Vesely & Chris Singleton received their first taste of summer league basketball, having missed out last year. Singleton (20pts 8reb 4stl 2blk) started slowly and did most of his damage when his team was down 20. Vesely failed to finish three lobs while Singleton was called for two illegal screens in the first half. They did manage to show glimpses of what they are capable of throughout the game however. Singleton is a presence at both ends of the floor, hits the offensive boards & uses his length to block & alter shots at the other end. Vesely has a soft touch but did struggle at times for defensive position with the more physical Mike Scott. He had a frustrating finish to the game picking up his 10th foul in the last 2 minutes.
Both teams also had second round picks on display in 43rd pick Mike Scott (7pts 6rebs) & 32nd pick Tomas Satoransky (4pts 2assists). Scott has an NBA looking physique however didn’t get many offensive opportunities today. He collected a technical foul after getting tangled with Vesely midway through the last quarter. He did swish a nice step back jumper from the wing after selling a head fake. Satoransky spent most of his time at the point where he showed how his size can create from the PG position, making some passes that smaller guards couldn’t.
The Wizards get their chance at redemption tomorrow against the rockets while the Hawks are back in Cox Pavilion on Sunday.
Toronto 82 Houston 93
The second game of day one saw the Houston Rockets eventually get the better of the Toronto Raptors. In a tightly contested game where no more than two points separated the teams after the first three quarters, the Rockets pulled away in the last five minutes to take a 93-81 victory.
The Rockets showcased their stockpile of talent led by 2011 first round draft pick Donatas Montiejunas. The Lithuanian big man showed a variety of skills on his way to 25 points and 9 rebounds. Montiejunas is a strong rebounder and effectively used his size to get position. He was finishing with both hands close to the basket and swished his two long range attempts. He runs the floor well and appears very focused. His decision making was solid and didn’t settle for the outside shot when defended by a smaller player. Montiejunas was well supported by fellow rookies Jeremy Lamb (16pts 2reb 2assists) and Terrence Jones (17pts 9rebs).
Lamb’s outside shot wasn’t quite on today however he got his baskets by moving well off the ball in his seemingly effortless manner. Jones has possessed an NBA body for a while now and has the ability the bang down low as well as push the ball. Second year man Chandler Parsons was very effective today. Parsons does a lot of things well on the court, is organized on both ends of the floor and is a strong competitor. He excited the crowd with a strong finish on one of his drives.
Ed Davis started strong and was on pace for a big game but slowed down in the second half. He finished with 18 points 8 rebounds and 3 blocks. Toronto looked much stronger when he was on the court. The performance of Toronto’s #8 pick Terrence Ross had to please Raptor fans. With him and DeMar DeRozan on the same team, they will have dozens of highlights throughout next season at the very least. Ross showed what a special athlete he is and will only improve over his next four games. He finished with 21 points 3 rebounds 2 assists and 2 steals.
Toronto won’t get the perfect Summer League record they achieved in 2010 but will be back on Sunday to play the first game in Thomas & Mack center against the Miami Heat. The Rockets back up tomorrow against the Wizards.
Golden State 91 Lakers 50
A red hot shooting Golden State Warriors demolished the Los Angeles Lakers this evening 90-50 in Game 3 of this year's Summer League. Klay Thompson and Rookie Harrison Barnes (7th pick) were devastating from long range, combining for 10/14 from behind the three point line. ‘I came to a basketball game and a three point contest broke out’ was the sentiment from one western conference executive. The Warriors shot 51.6% from the field versus a dismal 27% from LA.
Barnes was most impressive in his debut, piling on 23 points in 25 minutes, making all four of his three point shots. Judging by his smooth performance today, Barnes will have little trouble translating his game to the next level. He is a flat-out scorer who can put the ball in the basket in a number of ways. Thompson was simply on fire, nailing 6 from his 8 long range attempts. He poured in 24 points in just 23 minutes of play. Warriors second rounder Draymond Green also impressed in the second half.
There wasn’t much for Lakers fans to get excited about. Los Angeles took nearly four minutes to post a point. They were down 17-2 not long after and were playing catch up from early in the game. In contrast to the Warriors hot shooting, the Lakers combination of Christian Eyenga (2/8fg) Andrew Goudelock(5/15fg), Darius Morris(3/11fg) & Darius Johnson-Odom(0/8fg) shot an appalling 10/42 from the floor.
Eyenga provided Lakers fans with at least one highlight, with a thunderous tip in jam. That wasn’t enough to keep Mitch Kupchak looking unhappy as he left Cox Pavilion.
The response of the Lakers will be interesting viewing when they take on Sacramento tomorrow. The Warriors also return tomorrow to face the Denver Nuggets.
Charlotte 121 Sacramento 87
It was basically the Charlotte Bobcats against the Sacramento Kings Summer League team. Charlotte returned to Las Vegas after sitting out 2010 & started their schedule with an energetic 121-87 win over the Sacramento Kings. Former Kentucky stand out Michael Kidd Gilchrist had a little trouble fitting his name on the back of his jersey but not so much putting the ball in the basket and setting the Bobcats up for a solid first up win.
In terms of team chemistry and intensity, the Bobcats were the most impressive team on day one of Summer League. MKG looked to have injured himself early in the first quarter but still managed to lead his team with 15 first half points after receiving a baseline rub down. The Bobcats pressure defense was a theme throughout the game and yielded 20 turnovers from the Kings. Their ball movement also gave them a lot of open shots which they converted.
Kemba Walker's leadership was outstanding from the start and anyone watching could be forgiven for thinking they were watching a championship game by the relentless intensity shown by Charlotte. The Bobcats starters were strong and all had double figure scoring games. Walker didn’t have his best shooting game but dished out 7 assists (1 TO) to go with 2 rebounds and 2 steals. Second year man Bismack Biyombo hustled hard all game against the likes of Hassan Whiteside (7 points 8rebs 4blks) & # 5 pick Thomas Robinson. He had some tough finishes around the basket, including with his left hand and made all 4 of his foul shots.
Byron Mullens is playing with more confidence and made some nice baskets, showing off his outside touch and face up game. He led all scorers with 20 points to go with 7 rebounds. With the likes of Walker & Kidd-Gilchrist pushing the ball and penetrating, a player like Jeffery Taylor could easily find his way on to the Kings roster. He shot the ball well and finished with 17 points (3/4 3fg) 2 rebounds and 2 assists.
The Kings didn’t have the happiest of nights. When you shoot 37% and commit 20 turnovers, you’re not going to win many ball games. First round pick Robinson led the Kings with 19 points and 5 rebounds although did commit 8 turnovers. Jimmer Fredette struggled to get good looks most of the night and had a forgettable shooting performance going 2/11 for 7 points.
After the performance of both the Kings and Lakers today, tomorrows match up will be compelling viewing. The Bobcats are back in action on Sunday to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers.