NBA Summer League: Day 1
Denver Nuggets 88 vs. Dallas Mavericks 70
The Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets kicked off the NBA’s 2010 Summer League this afternoon at Cox Pavillion. The Nuggets came away with a convincing 88-70 win. Mavs owner Mark Cuban was one of the first in Cox Pavilion & likely enjoyed watching JR Giddens' pre game dunk highlights. Giddens couldn’t do much during the game to prevent the Nuggets from taking a 20 point lead into the half with the Denver defense limiting the Mavs to 28% FG shooting & 12 Turnovers.
The match up of late first round second year point guards (Lawson and Beaubois) ended up less exciting than anticipated. Beaubois really struggled and Lawson appeared content deferring to teammates once the Mavs took command of the game.
Dallas’ first rounder Dominique Jones impressed, leading all scorers with 19 points on 5/13 shooting. Jones was aggressive with the ball and showed off his ability to finish with contact in traffic & get to the line. Although an undersized 2 guard, he is physical and should be a handy contributor, especially when his outside shot becomes more reliable.
Rodrigue Beaubois had a disappointing start to his 2010 summer campaign, managing only 12 points on a miserable 3-16 shooting. Another unflattering stat was his 1 assist to 6 turnovers. Roddy will surely be looking to redeem himself in upcoming games.
Undrafted Harvard Grad Jeremy Lin saw his first action to start the second quarter and looked better as the game progressed. Lin played smart, had some nice plays including a reverse lay-up and a couple of three-point plays. The pace of summer League is a big step up from the Ivy league however. Lin finished with 12 points with 5 turnovers, but also had some nice passes.
St Mary’s product Omar Samhan finished with just 4 pts and 7 rebounds. Samhan had a couple of nice finishes around the basket but did look slow getting up & down the court. He & Brian Butch (8 pts 4 rebs) had an interesting battle throughout the game. They could be destined for another showdown in Europe before long.
The pleasant surprise of the game was Denver’s Shane Edwards. At 6”7 220, Edwards has good size and athleticism for an NBA small forward. Having spent last season playing in the D-League (12.9 ppg in 39 games for Albequerque) Edwards was impressive today at both ends of the court. He ran the floor as hard as anyone & was active on defense picking up 3 steals. He still has a tough task in making training camp but he didn’t do his chances any harm with today’s effort. He finished with 15pts 3rebs 3stls. He'll need to show that he can knock down his outside shots to really get some looks.
Undersized PG Dontaye Draper provided a spark off the bench, getting results on the defensive end whilst being aggressive offensively. He has many ways to put the ball in the basket, showing a deft ability to pull up off the dribble and excited the crowd with one acrobatic finish.
Houston Rockets 100 vs. Phoenix Suns 82
The second game of Day 1 saw a tight battle between the Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns. The Rockets pulled away in the 4th quarter to register their first win of Summer League. Houston’s lottery pick Patrick Patterson had an impressive start to his career at Rockets, knocking down all but one of his shots for a total of 18 points on 8/9 shooting. Patterson has really perfected his outside shooting stroke and should be a solid contributor for the Rockets next season.
Teammate Jermaine Taylor led all scorers with 25. His athleticism allowed him to push the ball up the court with ease where he finished more often than not today. Taylor also hit the boards hard and had a big offensive rebound & putback. His night was capped off with a behind the back pass to a trailing Jordan Hill who strongly finished the break.
Hill had a solid game himself. He could still show more urgency getting up the court after getting beat by Gani Lawal on a couple of occasions. Despite this, he looked a lot more confident today after some early foul trouble and finished with 16 points and 5 rebounds. He was clearly more patient in the post and had some success as a result.
Chase Budinger didn’t shoot the ball especially well today going 4/11 from the field in 28 minutes. However he shows a maturity beyond his years with excellent passing and team play.
Although finishing with 14 points and 5 rebounds, the Suns second rounder Gani Lawal had a mixed game. He looked timid in the post at times and needed to be more decisive. Lawal did show some promise in the second half, getting Hill in the air on a post move for an easy score.
Phoenix’s 2009 first rounder Earl Clark is looking to be more aggressive this year however he took some poor shots on his way to a 4/14 shooting night. At one stage, he was even heckled to pass the ball. For his size, there’s not much reason why someone like Jermaine Taylor should out-rebound him (7-3).
Suns PG Zabian Dowdell led the team with 16 pts and also added 4 assist & 3 rebounds. He didn’t have too much difficulty creating with the smaller Ishmael Smith guarding him.
Detroit Pistons 89 vs. Los Angeles Lakers 84
Lakers Owner Dr Jerry Buss was court side to get a first hand look at his two excellent second round picks. He most likely enjoyed what he saw, before a stunning 4th quarter Pistons comeback saw his team drop its first game of this years Summer League.
Both Derrick Caracter & Devin Ebanks posted 20 point games in their debuts, however a shocking sequence of plays late in the game from DJ Strawberry cost the Lakers any chance to win. In the waning minutes, Strawberry missed a left handed lay up from a nice Caracter backdoor pass, was called for an offensive foul on the next possession and then had a 3 point attempt hit the top of the backboard. The Pistons executed to near perfection offensively and managed to outscore the Lakers 31-17 in the final period to take the win.
Caracter was strong inside, outmuscling the Pistons bigs & hitting the boards well finishing with 20 & 10 (with 9 fouls). Ebanks had a tremendous showing (21 pts 9-16 FG) was effective in transition, was also a willing and also vocal defender.
Leading Detroit’s three draft picks from 2009, Austin Daye looked good this evening, leading all scorers with 22 points on an efficient 7-12 shooting. Daye converted 10 points in the 4th to get Detroit over the line.
Jonas Jerebko had a slow day by his standards but was active late in the game and hit some free throws to help secure the win. He finished with 16 points on 4-10 fg.
Detroit second rounder Terrico White had a solid game. He hit a big shot to put the Pistons up 3, after losing Strawberry with 14 seconds left in the game. White registered 17 points and 3 assists in his Pistons debut.
Although his team got the win, the play of #7 pick Greg Monroe was cause for a bit of concern for onlooking Pistons GM Joe Dumars. Monroe’s first and last baskets were dunks however he will need to improve on what he showed in between to have the impact Detroit expects. Monroe struggled with the physicality of Caracter and he didn’t get to display the passing game he is known for. His limited explosiveness & elevation didn’t help him under the basket which largely explains his poor shooting numbers (8 pts 4-13 fg)
Pistons trainer Mike Abdenour was ejected midway through the third quarter for over-aggressively arguing an officials call. However his double technical may have provided the spark that helped Detroit rally to their first win of this years SL.
Golden State Warriors 77 vs. New Orleans Hornets 76
The Hornets & Warriors played out the second tight game to end day 1 of Summer League 2010. The Warriors pulled off a great win without Stephen Curry, recently traded Anthony Randolph & the #6 pick Ekpe Udoh (injured) winning 77-76.
Golden State held on after a Brandan Wright free throw gave the Warriors a one point advantage. Hornets first rounder Craig Brackins could’ve put his team in the lead with 26 seconds left but his attempted put back dunk rimmed out and was called for basket interference. Collison had just over a second to get a shot off but it didn’t come close.
Second year man Marcus Thornton was the game's top scorer, finishing with 23 points but needed 22 shots to get there. He also grabbed 7 rebounds.
Hornets draft picks Craig Brackins and Quincy Pondexter had respectable games and will look to build on today’s performances. Brackins showed some 3 point range as well as his mid-range game on his way to 8 pts and 5 rebounds. Brackins has a wiry frame and will need to bulk up a little to make a real impact in the league at the power forward position.
Pondexter was active all game and did a good job getting to the line. His stroke isn’t bad and will only improve. He didn’t settle for jumpers and was aggressive going to the basket.
Darren Collison didn’t have an overwhelming game and couldn’t get going in the 4th to guide his team home. He didn’t shoot well (3-12 fg) and went a miserable 0/5 in the final quarter. He did do a good job protecting & distributing the ball however (7 assist with 2 TO’s).
Without Curry & Udoh, the majority of the warriors scoring came from Reggie Williams. Although the lefty still ended up with 22 points on 8-23 shooting, a lot of his misses were good looks and he could’ve done even more damage. He took a leading role in the 4th sparking a 7-0 run to start the quarter. Teammate Wright’s contributions at both ends of the floor helped secure the win for the Warriors. Wright is coming off a missed season due to injury and appears to have added some strength.
PG Ben Woodside tried hard for Golden State & received a lot of encouragement from Curry throughout the game. He finished with 11 points, 3 rebounds & 3 assists.