He did it again
In many ways the Vegas Summer League has been a point guard showcase, which has been refreshing after the assumed top rookie point guard - top overall draft pick Derrick Rose - had such a poor showing in Orlando. The Bobcats' DJ Augustin has been one of those leading the charge in Vegas, but after he scored 30 points in their win on Friday he earned a day off on Saturday. Nonetheless, the Bobcats handed the New York Knicks a 103-71 loss. Former Clipper Guillermo Diaz, who spent last season playing overseas, scored 14 points to lead five Bobcats in double figures. The Knicks, playing without the injured Danilo Gallinari and Renaldo Balkman, were led by Nate Robinson.
Studs: The Bobcats had such a balanced effort that there weren't any real "studs." The closest would be Diaz, while Orien Greene was a close second with 13 points, five assists, and three rebounds. For New York was Robinson, but Wilson Chandler scored10 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
Duds: Charlotte's Alexis Ajinca has been labeled this year's bust and his play has done nothing to change the label. On Saturday he failed to score, and wound up losing most of his minutes to Ryan Hollins. The Knicks, for their part, caused more than a few raised eyebrows when they gave Mardy Collins a guaranteed contract. On Saturday he was 2-for-10 from the field and scored nine points.
The big news from this game is that Anthony Randolph, who was expected to miss the rest of the league after sustaining an ankle injury, took the court for hte Warriors and scored 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. He did most of his damage from the foul line, going 16-of-18. Anthony Morrow chipped in 14 points and Marco Belinelli added 14 to lead the Warriors to a 95-90 win. Desmon Farmer scored 22 points to lead five Raptors in double figures, but the most notable appearance on their squad was newcomer Nathan Jawai, who has been working out at Impact Basketball with Jermaine O'Neal and finally got into a game. The seven-footer, nicknamed "Baby Shaq," scored 13 points and grabbed five boards in his debut.
Studs: As mentioned, Anthony Randolph had a phenomenal game, showing the same form he showed in the first two games of summer league. No one can stop him, though the competition among big men isn’t exactly stellar. Farmer was the leader for Toronto, but Joey Graham also had a solid game with 13 points and eight rebounds. John Lucas, formerly of the Houston Rockets, recorded 14 points and seven assists in the loss.
Duds: Marco Belinelli may have had 14 points, but he continued to struggle from the field. He’s shooting just 38% for the league and was 4-14 on Saturday. Daniel Ewing is supposed to be the “name” on Toronto’s bench, but scored just four points in 18 minutes.
Bobby Ray Jones and Keith Langford were the stars of this game, helping the Nuggets blow-out LA, 92-79. Draft pick Joey Crawford (no relation to the referee, contrary to urban legend) led the Lakers with 17 points on 8-18 shooting. Denver opened the game with an 11-2 run and never looked back.
Studs: Aside from Crawford, the Lakers really only got one other decent game, which came from Davon Jefferson. Jefferson scored 12 points in just his second appearance of the league. In addition to Jones (18 points) and Langford (17 points), the Nuggets also got 14 points and nine boards from Elton Brown.
Duds: Coby Karl has been good throughout the league, but struggled with his shot today, getting 13 points on 3-14 shooting. Sonny Weems is hoping to be a rotation player for Denver, but was a disappointed showing on Saturday with seven points and six turnovers.
Each of the Houston Rockets’ games has been a high-scoring affair, each going down to the wire before being decided. Saturday’s game was no different, as Houston came from behind to force OT before falling to the Wizards 75-80. Houston managed just one point in the two-minute extra period.
Studs: Washington’s Dee Brown only had four points, but his bucket at the end of regulation was the one that forced OT and ultimately allowed Washington to win. Andray Blatche scored 23 for the Wizards to lead all scorers. Mike Harris led Houston with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Gustavo Barrera added 16 and six.
Duds: Donte Green is one of the league’s leading scorers, but efficiency has been an issue for him in the process. On Saturday he scored 15 points, but went 5-19 with five turnovers. Aaron Brooks had 10 points and six assists, but shot just 3-15 from the field and 1-7 from three. Wizards draft pick JaVale McGee is averaging better than 10 points per game in the league, but had his worst game on Saturday with four points and four turnovers. Houston’s Joey Dorsey didn’t play in this game, but still managed to get kicked out of the game when he confronted Dee Brown after a hard foul on Barrera. If that doesn’t qualify him as a “dud,” nothing does.
A sore Achilles sidelined Kevin Love, which took most of the interest out of it for the fans gathered at UNLV. Love has been a huge fan favorite, along with the Grizzlies’ OJ Mayo, but had just 10 points and nine rebounds when he left the game in the third quarter. The Bucks were able to pull away for an 81-67 win in Love’s absence.
Studs: Former Spur Darius Washington scored 19 points and dished out seven assists in the win, while Matt Freije added 16 for Milwaukee. Luc Mbah a Moute had 13 points and 10 boards and Matt Lojeski added 14 off Milwaukee’s bench. Pops Mensah-Bonsu, formerly of the Dallas Mavericks, was the star of the game for Minnesota, scoring 13 points off the bench. Mensah-Bonsu is hoping to land a job with the Wolves before July 22nd, when he has to either accept an offer from Europe or lose that guaranteed money.
Duds: Joe Alexander was a virtual no-show for the Bucks, scoring just eight points on 2-11. Corey Brewer struggled on the Timberwolves side of the box, going just 4-13 for eight points and committing six fouls.
Phoenix has been aggressive early in games throughout the league, and Saturday was no different. They built a 13-point lead against Portland, but like most of their other games they also blew the lead in the second half. In this case, it was Jerryd Bayless who almost single-handedly took out the Suns, scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter in Portland’s 74-73 win. Bayless even did a little officiating, pointing out that the Suns called a timeout when they had none left. A tech for the Suns, a made FT for Bayless.
Studs: The stud of the day – and the league, frankly – was Bayless, who scored 36 points on 14-26 shooting. He’s made a living at the line until today, when he made it there just six times, making all six. He’s still the league-leader in FT attempts . . .and there is no close second. Alando Tucker led the Suns with 18 points.
Duds: DJ Strawberry has been one of the better players for Phoenix and Suns GM Steve Kerr told HoopsWorld he’s virtually assured of a roster spot. On Saturday, though, he scored 15 points on 3-11 shooting. Soon Bayless will have all the help he needs, but today he had very little. Petteri Koponen had his worst game of the league, scoring just five points on 2-13 shooting.
The final game of the day was certainly thrilling enough to reward those who stuck around for the night cap. New Orleans’ Larry Owens tipped in a shot at the buzzer that lifted the Hornets to a 79-78 win as LeBron James looked on. Cleveland’s Clay Tucker capped a strong performance with two clutch free throws at the 4.7 mark of the fourth. Had it not been for Owens, that would have been the play of the day.
Studs: Aside from Owens, JJ Hickson recorded 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Cavs. Danny Ferry told HoopsWorld he’s impressed with what he’s seen from Hickson, who’s averaging right at 19 and eight for the league. Ferry, though, was quick to point out that it’s “only summer league.” Romel Beck also chipped in 16 for Cleveland. Hornets GM Jeff Bower told HoopsWorld that he’s pleasantly surprised by the play of Bobby Brown, who has been called the surprise of the league by more than a few NBA types in attendance at UNLV. On Saturday he scored 15 points to lead the Hornets, who also got 15 from Ndudi Ebi.
Duds: Robert Traylor’s giving it his all, and in his defense he’s looked pretty good getting up and down the court. Unfortunately, he was never much of a star, and he’s struggled in Vegas. He was 1-5 with two points and seven rebounds in the loss. On the other side, Julian Wright has struggled in Vegas, and went 4-16 with 11 points on Saturday.
Bill Ingram is the Executive Editor for HoopsWorld and HoopsWorld Magazine
Tell us what you think about this article. E-mail us at HoopsHype@HoopsHype.com