Denver Nuggets (1-2) 85 New York Knicks (0-3) 81
The Denver Nuggets recorded their first win in this year’s summer league with a tight 85-81 win over the New York Knicks to start day 5. Kenneth Faried was a force at both ends all game finishing with an impressive line of 16 points 15 rebounds & 5 blocks, including a savage two hand jam in the 2nd quarter. He also altered several shots that won’t show up in the box score.
Faried received good help from Jordan Hamilton who had a game high 21 points. He did most of his damage in the first half, making some nice outside shots, showing a quick release. He also displayed his passing ability with his best assist coming from a lob to Faried in the final quarter.
Denver first round pick Evan Fournier saw time at both guard positions & had a solid game with a few blemishes. He had 14 points on 5/9 shooting. He was patient and didn’t force bad shots. His footwork will need to tighten up, getting called for two travels and getting away with at least one more. Defensively, he was solid but did take a few gambles without success.
Guard Derwin Kitchen was again impressive, hitting from outside & on some aggressive drives. He had one embarrassing moment where he fell to the floor attempting to stop a [ Player: Chris Copeland] drive, much to the delight of the COX Pavilion crowd. He immediately responded with a strong drive himself at the other end. He had 14 points (6/12fg) 4 rebounds & 6 assists for the game. Josh Carter continued his double digit scoring with 11 today off the bench. His offensive tip in late in the 4th helped seal the win for Denver. He also added 2 rebounds & 2 assists.
The recently signed Copeland top scored for New York with 15 points on 5/9 shooting. He looked more confident taking his outside shots and used his dribble more today than we’ve previously seen. Copeland also pulled down 7 rebounds. Knicks teammate James White was busy early, connecting on back to back baskets in the first, including a breakaway dunk. He had two dunk attempts disrupted by Faried and finished with 11 points 3 boards and 2 assists.
Knicks guard Mustapha Farrakhan didn’t shoot well going 3/10 but did show some offensive ability, knocking down a three & making a nice pull up jumper. He also played solid on ball defense. After not playing in the first quarter, Wesley Witherspoon gave New York strong minutes off the bench. Witherspoon knocked down two three’s, blowing a kiss to crowd after each. He made a nice 3 point play in the 4th & showed some passing ability with a nice assist. Witherspoon had 12 points, shooting 4/7 from the field.
Washington Wizards (2-2) 83 Memphis Grizzlies (2-2) 77
Josh Selby was the story of the game putting up a tremendous 35 points, with rookie Bradley Beal checking him for much of the contest, no less. He was scorching from deep knocking down 7/8 3 pointers, and recorded 7 steals. His spectacular tomohawk dunk going down the lane showed off the athleticism that made him the #1 rated player in his high school class by some. This was coming off a 20 point, 7/11 impressive first game. When focused, Selby has the talent to stand out on this level. It’s consistency and focus that he needs to work on to develop into a legitimate pro.
Bradley Beal‘s solid yet unspectacular Summer League continues. He had 14 points in the win and knocked down 2-5 from deep, but shot a disappointing 5-15 from the floor.
Second year forward had 9 and 12 showing good aggressiveness on the boards grabbing 5 offensive. Former Duke forward Shavlik Randolph led the team in scoring with 16.
The most intriguing player for Memphis Tony Wroten came off the bench and struggled scoring with just 5 pts on 2-9 shooting with 0 assists and 3 turnovers. He’s a physical specimen with great vision but still has a ways to go before he can be counted on as a rotation guy that can make solid basketball decisions in the league.
San Antonio Spurs (2-0) 92 Los Angeles Lakers (0-4) 81
The San Antonio Spurs moved to a 2-0 record with a 92-81 win over an improved LA Lakers. Second year standout Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs offensively with 27 points on 9/18 shooting.
Leonard showed his ability to make pull up jumpers going left and right, hit the 3 and finish on the break. He also had 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Point guard Cory Joseph (18pts 3rebs 5assists 3stls 6/12 FG) was impressive, finishing drives to the basket and knocking down outside shots.
James Anderson ran the floor well and knocked down some shots for his 13 points and 4 rebounds. Tyler Wilkerson was a strong presence inside, collecting 12 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists in 28 minutes. Spurs second round pick Marcus Denmon didn’t show a great deal in his 20 minutes but did drain down one three and dished out 4 assists.
The Lakers looked like a different squad and for the first time resembled a team with their ball movement and defensive intensity. After shooting just 28% for the first three games, Darius Morris (24 pts 6/9FT 4assists 4TO’s) was perfect from the floor shooting 9/9FG. His decision making was significantly better than what he has shown so far. He committed a couple of silly turnovers, including one where he literally dribbled the ball into Joseph’s hands who then laid the ball in for a 3 point play. Similarly, Christian Eyenga played much better on the offensive end, taking good shots on his way to 13 points & 4 rebounds.
Australian big man Julian Khazzouh gave LA good minutes off the bench for his 8 points 4 rebounds and 2 assists. He had two nice pull up where he effectively used head fakes and one bounce dribbles. Late in the third he got on the floor and gained possession which led to an Eyenga 3 point play. Centre Robert Sacre had 14 points 7 rebounds on 3/7 shooting.
Former UCLA forward Reeves Nelson made his first appearance this summer, putting up 5 points and 3 boards. His two field goals were made back to back midway through the 3rd.
Mercifully, the Lakers complete their schedule on Thursday against the LA Clippers.
Houston Rockets (3-1) 99 Portland Trailblazers (1-1) 88
The Rockets have two players: Donatas Motiejunas and Jeremy Lamb who we rated as top 5 players in their respective drafts that ended up going 20 and 12 respectively. Both are making us look good as they are playing like top 5 players and potential rookie of the year candidates for 2012-13.
Simply put, Lamb has been the best rookie in Vegas showing his ultra smooth shooting stroke, ability to create shots, and high flying, spectacular finishing ability at the rim. The notion that he lacked intensity and somehow wasn’t an intense competitor was about the most overblown fallacy of the entire 2012 draft. People seemed to forget that this guy had just as big an effect on the Huskies 2011-12 title run as Kemba Walker. Lamb is already beginning to make a lot of teams look bad for passing on him on draft day.
After a hiccup in game 2, Motejunas has made it 3 of 4 impressive games with 20 and 12 in 27 minutes. His experience level in Europe shows as he has an array of offensive skills and also shows the ability to get out on the break and finish above the rim. We had Motiejunas rated as a top 5 player in the 2011 draft.
PG Damian Lillard continues his impressive SL with 27 points and 5 rebounds. He dished out 3 assists but committed 7 turnovers. Former Duke star Nolan Smith had a strong game before bieng strethcered off the court after a foul from Dragic. Smith suffered a concussion and has since been released from hospital.
Cleveland Cavaliers (2-1) 89 Phoenix Suns (1-1) 74
A monster performance from Markieff Morris (24pts 17rebs 6blks 7/21FG 9/10FT) wasn’t enough give the Phoenix Suns a come from behind win this evening against the Cleveland Cavaliers, going down 89-74.
#4 pick Dion Waiters didn’t get the start but it wasn’t long before he entered the game and made his presence felt. Waiters penetrated well, finishing some tough drives and showing his passing touch with a nice feed to Samardo Samuels. His outside shot needs some work, nearly air-balling a wide open set shot from deep. He got burnt defensively by PJ Tucker on one possession where Tucker took him down low in the 4th with a quick spin move. Waiters had 16 points (5/15 FG) 4 rebounds 2 assists & 2 steals.
Samuels was again solid for Cleveland with 17 points on 4/10 shooting, 9/9 from the line. He does most of his damage in the paint but stepped out and confidently nailed a mid range shot. Tyler Zeller started slow but eventually got going to record 10 points and 12 boards. Guard Donald Sloan had some nice plays for his 13 points.
Morris was huge from start to finish, collecting a first half double-double. Joey Dorsey’s 20 rebound record looked in serious jeopardy but Morris will have to settle for sharing the 2nd highest total with Kevin Love & James Singleton. Morris made good decisions for the most part of the game, taking the open shot and going to work when the opportunity presented itself. He made a nice pass to Tucker for a textbook high-low play in the 2nd quarter (Tucker was fouled and missed both foul shots). Morris also chased down a Waiters fast break and blocked what looked to be a certain two for the rookie.
#13 pick Kendall Marshall made his first appearance however he wasn’t enough to get the Suns the win. Marshall went scoreless, attempting just the 1 shot all game. His passing was sharp and decisive but did commit some turnovers trying to thread passes. With higher caliber team mates, Marshall should have several double digit assist games next season and will push the occasional triple double. He doesn’t have the same quickness as some of his peers and was beaten easily by Waiters on one drive. He had 0 points 3 rebounds, 5 assists with 5 turnovers.
Marcus Landry was solid off the bench, contributing 11 in 19 minutes of play.
Boston Celtics (2-0) 79 Chicago Bulls (0-1) 74
Former Temple standout Dionte Christmas had an efficient 18 points on 6/11 shooting.
Boston’s headlinerJared Sullinger struggled shooting just 3/15 from the field finishing with 7 points. He did snatch 14 boards, however, in 27 minutes.
Rookie PG Marquis Teague also struggled shooting 4/17 in his Vegas debut for 8 points.
Charlotte Hornets (3-0) 81 Minnesota Timberwolves (0-1) 78
The final game of day 5 saw the Charlotte Bobcats maintain their perfect Summer League record inside the Thomas & Mack Center. With Jeremy Lamb court side to watch his former UConn backcourt mate Kemba Walker, the night belonged to Byron Mullens, who poured in 33 points in Charlotte’s 81-78 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Timberwolves are looking for a big man for next season however they could’ve used one tonight as they had no answers for Mullens’ size, skill and agility. Minnesota threw Derrick Williams, Mike Harris (4pts 4rebs 2assissts), Paulo Prestes & Robbie Hummel (6pts 2 rebs) at Mullens in an attempt to slow him down but without much luck. Mullens got off to a hot start, making 13 points in the first quarter alone & had 22 by the half. He scored inside and out, connecting on 3/5 from long range. He ran the floor well and was a handful on the offensive boards. By the end of the game he had racked up 33 points and 8 rebounds on 13/24 shooting.
Walker (15pts 4rebs 8 assists 2stl 1TO) didn’t have a great shooting night, going 5 for 15 from the field, however he distributed the ball well & played tough defense. His running battle with Zabian Dowdell (11pts 1reb 2assists 2 stls 1blk) a feature of tonight’s game. The pair competed hard all game and had a collision mid-court during the 3rd quarter that sent them crashing into the media table. On a day that saw a couple of injuries, fortunately both were alright.
Othello Hunter (12 points 9 rebounds) was strong off the bench, just missing a double-double in his 20 minutes of court time. He was active on the glass and in the last minute of the game, tipped in a miss that gave Charlotte a 4 point advantage. Bismack Biyombo was quiet and only saw 15 minutes of action for 3 points, 5 boards and 2 blocks. His only field goal came from a 15 foot jump shot.
Wes Johnson top scored for Minnesota with 24 points (9/15FG 1/53FG) and swished a late three to keep the Timberwolves in the game. Last year’s #2 pick Derrick Williams went for 17 points (5/13FG) 7 rebounds, 3 assists but also committed 6 turnovers. With the game in the balance, Williams was called for an offensive foul which drew an angry reaction from Timberwolves fans & even some fans.
6”10 275lb Prestes (10pts 4/7 FG) did some good things in his 23 minutes, showing a soft touch around the basket and blocking 4 shots. Coby Karl is a player that does a lot of good things on the court and although he only took the two field goal attempts, he pulled down 8 rebounds and handed out 8 assists (1TO).
Both teams have a day break and will be back on Thursday.