Big shot Bayless
The Pistons’ Summer League squad isn’t supposed to lose (they have the best team here), but with Rodney Stuckey sitting out with a sore toe, they looked pretty vulnerable. Ramon Sessions had a great game for Milwaukee, netting 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists; one of the things that was so impressive was his ability to blow by defenders and get to the rim, ultimately leading to a foul. He was 8-12 from the line.
Studs: Arron Afflalo was the only Piston in double figures today, doing a nice job of driving to the basket and pulling up for jumpers. That kind of versatility will be nice for the Pistons that need a bit more offensive firepower – although it’s unlikely he’ll be able to score 18 points many times this season like he did here, being comfortable enough to take those shots is a nice addition. Joe Alexander had a nice bounce-back game for Milwaukee, finishing with 11 points on 5-9 shooting – he looked a lot more comfortable than in Game 1.
Duds: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is coming into Milwaukee with high expectations because of his productive college career and he certainly can play basketball. He just needs to realize that his primary niche in the NBA is going to be as a rebounder and defender, which are two aspects of his game that are absolutely phenomenal. But unless his shooting improves, he can’t be going 2-10 from the field. Amir Johnson had a sub-par game as well, unable to really establish his presence or dominance on the court, finishing 3-8 for 6 points and 4 rebounds. Johnson is an established NBA player and should do much better here in Vegas – and he definitely shouldn’t be getting 10 fouls in a game!
You know, for how much we’ve been lauding the production of Thaddeus Young and Marreese Speights here in Vegas, the Sixers hadn’t won a game until today. Speights was the star in the Sixers win today, notching 16 points (7-11 FG) and 9 rebounds, once again showing that he’s far better than the big-man competition around him here in Vegas. It’ll be nice to see he and J.J. Hickson go at it.
Studs: The other star Sixers were also quite solid for Philly, with both Jason Smith and Thaddeus Young scoring 16 points. Young wasn’t as aggressive in this game as the last few, opting for more jumpers and a finesse game as opposed to the physically imposing style he had used earlier this week. Smith was very efficient, going 4-8 from the field and going 8-9 from the charity stripe. Coby Karl had a better showing for the Lakers, scoring 18 points on 5-13 shooting, 3-7 from three-point range, and 5-6 from the line. Two thumbs up for Junior Harrington, who scored 15 points on only 4-6 shooting (he was 7-9 from the free-throw line).
Duds: Jamont Gordon is a really nice player and he has a legitimate shot at making it in the NBA, but he had a so-so night offensively. He’s a talented and athletic defender, so that might be how he makes his mark, but it’d be nice to show a bit more on offense.
Bobby Brown is making a name for himself here in Vegas, once again showing that he’s a very nice scoring guard with 15 points on 7-12 shooting. But what has been really nice to see is his 8 assists and only 3 turnovers – he’s playing under control and basically exerting his will on the perimeter for the Hornets. Brown was known as a scorer at Cal State Fullerton, but he’s showing that a year after going undrafted, he’s ready for a small role in the NBA. The Hornets are familiar with his game – they worked him out last year before the draft – and may keep him for the regular season, especially if Jannero Pargo doesn’t sign with the team again.
Studs: Anthony Tolliver played well for the Spurs, finishing with 14 points on 4-5 shooting and 4-4 from the line. But the story for the Spurs was James Gist, who came off the bench and was really aggressive, finishing with 14 points and 11 rebounds. He shot 5-7 from the field and was 3-3 from the line, but had a highlight dunk on Hilton Armstrong late in the game (poor Hilton, first OJ Mayo, now this). Julian Wright had a really great all-around effort for the Hornets, finishing with 11 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 blocks.
Duds: George Hill, who the Spurs took out of IUPUI with the hopes that he could be Tony Parker’s backup in San Antonio, went 0-10 from the field, scoring 3 points on field goals (3-6 FTs). The good news is that he did have 4 assists and played solid defense, but that was an atrocious offensive outing – he’ll be much better.
In what proved to be the most exciting game of the night, the Kings just barely edged the Blazers in overtime. Jason Thompson was the story for the Kings today, not only because he scored 17 points (4-8 from the field) and grabbed 9 rebounds, but he got to the free-throw line a ton because of his willingness to bang around on the inside. The Kings got a lot of flak for this pick, but he had a nice game; in fact, with 12 seconds left in overtime and the Kings down 2, Thompson went up for a shot on the edge of the paint and got the and-one after the shot went in – he made his free-throw, which proved to be the winning point in the game.
Studs: Jerryd Bayless is absolutely fantastic out here – he’s making people really wonder how he slid down the draft. With 9 seconds left in regulation, Bayless made an incredibly tough jumper to tie the game on the left side of the basket. Sounds tough enough considering the time circumstances, but what was most impressive was that Bayless was clearly fouled on the play and should have gone to the line as well. Bayless did unfortunately miss the shot with one second left that would have given the Blazers the win. Quincy Douby also played very well for Sacramento, finishing with 24 points (7-15 FG) and 6 steals. Petteri Koponen also looked very good, with 18 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Duds: Nicolas Batum is still adjusting to the speed of the NBA game, as he was disrupted a lot on his jumpers, going 1-8 in the game for 6 points.
This was a really fun game to watch, as both teams really showed their firepower from their better players. Unfortunately, both Warrior rookies Anthony Randolph and Richard Hendrix were forced to sit out with injuries (Randolph, by the way, was celebrating his birthday on Tuesday), but Marco Belinelli came to play. He scored 30 points for the Warriors on 9-15 from the field and remained aggressive in getting to the basket as well, finishing 9-9 from the free-throw line.
Studs: DJ Augustin displayed a different aspect of his game today, opting to go ahead and match the Warriors in scoring rather than set up his teammates. Augustin went off for 30 points himself on 9-14 shooting. Kyle Weaver took some of the playmaking duties from Augustin in what was Weaver’s best game in Vegas, scoring 7 points on 3-5 shooting and getting 4 assists to lead his team; he also played great defense on Belinelli in the third quarter, slowing down the Italian sharpshooter that scored 21 points in the first half. The Warriors also got another great game from CJ Watson, who not only finished with 23 points, but also 7 assists and played solid defense against Augustin.
Duds: Other than Brandon Wallace, who was 1-5 from the field, no particular player looked really out of whack in this game.
Preetom Bhattacharya is the Senior Newslines editor and has covered the NBA for HoopsWorld for three years
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