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Bayless the best so far
by Preetom Bhattacharya / July 18, 2008

Jerryd BaylessGame 1: Dallas 79 – Detroit 73

With Rodney Stuckey sitting out again, Will Bynum stepped up for the Pistons with 20 points, 3 assists, and 4 rebounds. Bynum had a stellar game from the field, finishing 8-11 in shooting despite the team’s loss. Bynum made a name for himself after leading Georgia Tech to the Final Four, but he’s not quite ready to be an NBA player –efficient performances like this one will surely land him another deal in Europe, where he’s played with Maccabi Tel Aviv for the past two years.

Studs: Pistons’ second-round pick Walter Sharpe looked great for the Pistons from long-range, knocking down 2 of his 3 three-point attempts. He also did a nice job of getting to the line, going 4-6 from the line for his 16 points. Amir Johnson had a nice game on the boards, finishing with 9 boards to go with his 10 points. Aaron Miles did well in minutes off the bench with the Mavs, going 5-8 for his 14 points, which led the league.

Duds: Arron Afflalo has been really up and down here in Vegas and this was a down game. He finished 1-13 from the field for 7 points, but he did contribute nicely with six assists. Afflalo will be leaned upon for more offensive production this season, something he has been working on, but showings like this in Vegas are not what the Pistons are looking for.

Game 2: New Orleans 80 – Los Angeles Clippers 76

WHOA! Hilton Armstrong absolutely blew up in this game, finishing with a whopping 25 points and 8 rebounds, shooting 10-17 from the field and 5-8 from the line. Armstrong has struggled to really assert himself as a “dominant” player here in Vegas, which is what Hornets’ head coach Byron Scott had hoped to see. This was the kind of performance he was talking about, as Armstrong showed confidence in an array of offensive abilities, including taking people off the dribble after facing them up.

Studs: Other than Armstrong, Bobby Brown continued to impress. He finished with 17 points and 6 assists; although he can’t really shoot outside, Brown had one of the more entertaining shots in the game, when he dribbled to his right and threw the ball across his body toward the basket and it dropped in. For the Clippers, Marcus Williams had yet another strong game, shooting 8-16 from the perimeter (but no threes) to finish with 24 points – his efforts on the boards were nice as well, as he grabbed 10 rebounds.

Duds: Mike Taylor has a great shot at making the Clippers’ roster, but he isn’t helping himself when he turns the ball over 5 times. Another game for Adam Haluska, yet another disappointing shooting performance; he’s so much better than he’s showing here.

Game 3: Philadelphia 87 – Toronto 85

This one had a bit of a controversial ending, as Jaycee Carroll was called for an offensive foul as he made a jumper with 4 seconds left in the game that would have given the Raptors an 87-85 lead but it was waived off. The referee felt that Carroll had created space for himself by hooking his defender off. Marreese Speights quickly inbounded the ball to Jamont Gordon, who made a layup with 0.7 seconds left in the game to give the Sixers the 87-85 lead and eventual win.

Studs: Hassan Adams finished with 12 points on 5-9 shooting for the Raptors and looked really aggressive on the court. He was a lot more versatile today than he has been in the past, getting to the basket rather than settling for outside shots. CJ Giles also had a nice game for Toronto, finishing with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Thaddeus Young led the Sixers with 21 points and Junior Harrington played very well for them as well, scoring 12 points (4-5 shooting), and notching 5 assists.

Duds: The PA announcer at COX Pavilion, who almost mistakenly called Daniel Ewing "Patrick".

Game 4: Phoenix 98 – San Antonio 74

A blowout after a 34-point third quarter for Phoenix, the Suns relied on the ridiculously efficient scoring of Alando Tucker to pull this out. Tucker finished with 24 points on an astounding 8-10 from the field and 8-11 from the charity stripe; hoping to carve a niche for himself with new head coach Terry Porter watching, Tucker may be a nice backup for the Suns next season.

Studs: Another solid game for Robin Lopez, who finished with 14 points and 9 rebounds. Lopez has continually shown that he has a nice offensive repertoire despite his reputation as a defensive stopper. His brother, Brooke, watched from the sidelines. What you like to see from young players is when they find ways to contribute when their shot isn’t falling, and DJ Strawberry did just that, getting to the basket and getting fouled to go to the free-throw line since his jumper was off. He had 12 points and was 5-8 from the line and also had 2 steals.

Duds: It’s hard to list duds for this game, as the Spurs sat all of their most productive players from Summer League thus far, including George Hill, Ian Mahinmi, Devin Green, and Anthony Tolliver. With the roster they put on the floor, there really wasn’t a chance for them to pull this out.

Game 5: Minnesota 88 – Portland 78

Kevin Love can finally enjoy the feeling of victory for the first time as an NBA player. After losing two straight here in Vegas and admitting that he hates it, Love went off for 26 points and 15 rebounds, his best showing thus far in Vegas. He’s been utterly dominant in the paint, eating rebounds like they were his favorite snack. He was 7-20 from the field, a bit lower than you’d like to see for a big man, but made up for it by going 12-14 from the free-throw line.

Studs: Jerryd Bayless has been the best player to put on a Summer League jersey. He finished with 29 points and 6 rebounds while shooting 8-15 from the field and 13-16 from the line. Bayless is such a skilled offensive player – he’s so versatile, that it’s hard to figure out a way to stop him. His ability to get to the rim will take him far in the NBA. Craig Smith, fresh off of signing a deal to stay with the Wolves, came in and finished with 10 points and 3 rebounds – it looked like he was just running to show he was in good shape. Pops Mensah-Bonsu also played well for the Wolves, scoring 11 points and grabbing 7 rebounds. Nicolas Batum had his best game of the summer, scoring 12 points on 5-7 shooting and grabbing 5 boards and JR Pinnock played well for the Blazers off the bench shooting 4-5 for his 9 points.

Duds: Corey Brewer only scored 1 point, missing all four of his field goal attempts. He’s had a generally poor outing here in Las Vegas. Brewer still doesn’t look comfortable, as if he’s adjusting to a pace he’s not used to; for a guy that put up with stiff NBA competition last season, this shouldn’t be the case.

Game 6: Milwaukee 79 – Denver 67

Ramon Sessions’ performance in Vegas has been absolutely stellar – he’s leading the “league” in assists and doing just about everything Scott Skiles would like to see in a point guard. He’s defending, shooting nicely, taking care of the ball, and setting up his teammates. Sessions finished with 13 points, 9 assists, and 8 rebounds – he’s played so well here in Vegas that he should earn minutes with the Bucks this season .. even if they do have Maurice Williams, Charlie Bell, and Tyronn Lue on the roster!

Studs: Dahntay Jones played great for Denver, leading the team with 20 points on 5-12 shooting from the field and 10-12 from the line. No other Nugget was in double figures. Many questioned why Luc Richard Mbah a Moute left school, but he has been solid here in Vegas in his role as a defender and rebounder. His game doesn’t perfectly translate into NBA success, but he’s such a smart player and hard worker that he’ll be able to pull off a long career as a backup role player.

Duds: Taurean Green struggled once again to get things going, shooting 1-9 for only 4 points. His defense was okay, but Sessions basically dominated him; any thoughts the Nuggets had given of him possibly being an answer to their PG question probably have been thrown out by now, but Taurean still oozes with potential. Hopefully, things work out for him after the stars align.

Preetom Bhattacharya is the Senior Newslines editor and has covered the NBA for HoopsWorld for three years

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