Denver Nuggets 87, New Orleans Pelicans 82
The first day of this year’s summer league tournament tipped of with the No. 22-seed Denver Nuggets defeating the No. 11 New Orleans Pelicans 87-82. Jordan Hamilton started the game with an unbelievable scoring display, pouring in 18 first-quarter points, including three 3-pointers. Hamilton didn’t add much more, finishing with 23 points four rebounds and two steals on 8-14 shooting (4-7 from 3).
Quincy Miller had a nice game, connecting on all five of his attempts from long range. Miller’s approach is impressive and he brings good energy at both ends of the floor. He brings the same level of effort every game. Miller pulled down some strong defensive rebounds and looked good pushing the ball. He tallied 17 points and five rebounds on 6-10 shooting.
Rookie Erick Green was impressive off the bench, penetrating well and finishing some tough shots. The NCAA’s leading scorer last season had a nice running battle with Brian Roberts and finished the game with 14 points.
Darius Miller showed a variety of skills for his 23 points. Miller was impressive getting to the line and creating his own shot off the dribble.
Austin Rivers was again solid, en route to his 16 points. For the most part, his shot selection was smart and he handled some different defensive looks from the Nuggets. Rivers didn’t take many outside shots, as he plays better when he uses his quickness to get into the paint. He showed nice touch near the rim after breaking down the defense — an underrated skill in summer league basketball. His swished his only three, with the COX Pavilion court announcer, much to the crowd’s amusement, mistakenly giving credit to Austin Powers.
Roberts had little trouble getting clean looks, finishing 8-12 from the floor. He displayed good quickness and penetration ability, becoming one of the more reliable players on the Pelicans’ roster this summer.
The Nuggets move into the second round where they will match up against the Toronto Raptors.
The No. 13-seed Minnesota Timberwolves blew out the disappointing No. 20-seed Sacramento Kings 92-54 in Game 2 inside COX Pavilion. Lottery picks Shabazz Muhammad and Ben McLemore reversed roles from their last game, with Muhammad finally showing flashes of what made him such a dominant high school player.
Muhammad started slowly, but looked like a completely different player in the second half. He hadn’t shown any shooting touch before this game, but he connected on three from long range against the Kings. His challenge is to develop a more consistent touch from inside and out to go along with his slashing ability and transition skills. Muhammad does a lot of little things that don’t show up on the stat sheet, like boxing out, setting picks and being a vocal teammate. Muhammad finished with 17 points (6-10 FG) and four rebounds.
Former Illinois guard Demetri McCamey put up 15 points and showed he is one of the better shooters in Las Vegas. He controlled the offense with his impressive playmaking skills. Brandon Paul brought good energy and attitude to the court. He hit some open shots, finished in transition and dove after loose balls. He had 10 points, three rebounds, one assist and one steal in 16 minutes off the bench.
Gorgui Dieng is currently limited offensively and airballed a 15-foot baseline shot in this game. He works hard, though, and he made his presence felt defensively.
Ben McLemore reverted to the poor shot selection we saw in his debut. McLemore failed to make a field goal in 21 minutes, finishing 0-8 (0-4 from 3) for one point. He was forcing shots and came up short on the good looks he did manage to get. McLemore didn’t have the best transition game, either, making a poor pass for a turnover and also committing an offensive foul.
Will Clyburn looked threatening on the wing, proving he can make the outside shot and also drive to the basket. He had 15 points on 5-9 shooting.
Minnesota will play the D-League Select team in Round 2.
Miami Heat 113, New York Knicks 66
A terrible game to end the COX Pavilion schedule on Day 6. The No. 18 Miami Heat destroyed the No. 15 New York Knicks in one of the biggest blowouts in summer league history. On the back of 58 percent shooting, the Heat rolled to a 113-66 win.
Travis Leslie led the scoring for Miami with 23 points, which included a series of impressive dunks. James Ennis continued to impress, scoring 12 points to go along with his defensive tenacity (four steals), which caused problems for the Knicks.
James Nunnally continued to put up incredible shooting numbers this summer. He poured in 18 points (7-10 from the floor, 4-6 from 3). Eric Griffin played with some aggression today, finishing with 13 points, five rebounds and three blocks. With the lopsided score and the Knicks’ frustration increasing, Griffin and Liam McMorrow exchanged words in the second half.
Jeremy Tyler was easily the Knicks’ best player and was visibly frustrated with his team’s performance, both when on the court and on the bench. He tallied 18 points and eight rebounds, including a few angry dunks.
Tim Hardaway Jr again did not suit up for New York. Miami will play Chicago in Round 2.
Memphis Grizzlies 90, Washington Wizards 83
Tony Wroten just plays at a different speed than most of his summer league counterparts. Sometimes that speed gets him into trouble, but in this game, he was able to keep it under control, leading his team to victory. Wroten finished with 23 points and six assists. The Wiz got another encouraging performance out of Jan Vesely, with 15 points, nine boards and a pair of blocks. [Player:Chris Singleton] scored 16, and Glen Rice Jr. added 15.
Portland Trailblazers 70, Atlanta Hawks 69 (OT)
[Player:Will Barton] (16 points, eight rebounds) hit a wild baseline floater with 10 seconds left in the overtime to cap a remarkable come-from-behind effort for the Blazers, who trailed by as much as 11 in the fourth quarter. CJ McCollum led his team in scoring, yet again, with 19, and Thomas Robinson proved to be too much inside for the Hawks, with 13 points and 17 boards. Dennis Schroeder submitted another encouraging performance, with 16 points and five assists, and Mike Scott added 19. Lucas Nogueira struggled offensively, but controlled the paint defensively with four blocked shots.