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Fighting for a spot
by Preetom Bhattacharya / July 19, 2008

Dahntay Jones - Icon Sports MediaGame 1: New York 85 – Phoenix 80

Wilson Chandler is certainly playing like he has something to prove to the new regime in New York, finishing with a game-high 31 points on 11-19 shooting from the field and 8-10 from the line. He has been very aggressive from the get-go of games and even grabbed 12 rebounds in this contest. At 6-8, 230-pounds, Chandler could be an ideal fit in Mike D'Antoni’s system at either forward position.

Studs: Robin Lopez continued his solid play in the paint, finishing with 15 points and 9 rebounds. DJ Strawberry also has been playing well for the Suns; he scored a team-high 21 points on 7-16 shooting. Mardy Collins was outstanding with the ball in his hands today, setting up his teammates to the tune of 7 assists.

Duds: Von Wafer was 3-10 from the field for the Knicks, struggling to knock down jumpers and failing to use his athleticism to get to the basket and the free-throw line.

Game 2: Detroit 78 – Charlotte 67

In a sloppy game turnover-wise, especially for the Bobcats who were without DJ Augustin (tendinitis), Will Bynum once again stepped up for the Pistons. Bynum scored 16 points on only 6-9 shooting from the field, a very nice and efficient game from the young point guard.

Studs: Arron Afflalo stepped up the ball distributor role for himself, finishing with 6 assists, which is nice because his shot was off during the game. Kyle Weaver played nicely for the Bobcats, scoring 12 points and hitting 4-5 shots, including 2-3 from three. Cheikh Samb and Amir Johnson played well with each other, combining for 23 points and 12 rebounds.

Duds: Mustafa Shakur turned the ball over 6 times and shot 2-7 from the field for the Bobcats.

Game 3: Washington 72 – Cleveland 69

A great game for Andray Blatche, who led the Wizards with 22 points and 9 rebounds for their first victory in Summer League action. Blatche was a beast on the floor, using his polish and athleticism to better Cavs’ rookie J.J. Hickson.

Studs: Shooting 6-9 from the field, Dominic McGuire scored 12 points to go with his 6 rebounds; additionally, McGuire has been a great defender, getting out on opposing players and absolutely hounding them. JaVale McGee played well off the bench, scoring 11 points and grabbing 4 rebounds in just under 19:00 minutes of play.

Duds: J.J. Hickson has been absolutely fantastic, but he had a chance to win the game for the Cavs with less a minute left in the game and it didn’t happen. He missed two free-throws that could have put Cleveland ahead.

Game 4: Toronto 89 – Los Angeles Lakers 71

Joey Graham is simply a great Summer League player – every year, he comes here to Vegas and seems like he can dominate at will. He finished with 20 points in this contest, playing aggressive and hard-nosed basketball that got him to the line for a 12-15 performance and grabbed 3 rebounds as well. His ability to get to the basket and his solid defense have been really impressive.

Studs: John Lucas III had his best game for the Raptors here in Vegas, finishing with 15 points and 3 assists and 2 rebounds. He shot 6-8 from the field, made both of his three-point attempts, and was 2-3 from the free-throw line. Deji Akindele also played well for Toronto, finishing with 12 points and 7 rebounds.

Duds: The entire Laker roster was just off; they shot .361 from the field and had 20 turnovers. With 19 guys on the roster, no one could step in and be a little bit productive?

Game 5: Sacramento 94 – Golden State 91

If the Kings are going shopping for a backup two-guard, they need to stop immediately and just give the job of spelling Kevin Martin to Quincy Douby. Douby nearly beat the Summer League record of 42 points in a simple VSL game set by DJ Strawberry; he scored 36 points on a variety of outside jumpers – he only got to the line six times (five makes). This was a great showing for head coach Reggie Theus, who was watching the game from the sideline.

Studs: In addition to Douby, Kings’ rookie Jason Thompson was great – he scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and tipped in the winning basket with time running out. C.J. Watson continued his strong Summer League play in Vegas, finishing with 24 points, 6 assists, and 4 rebounds. He’s really going to make it hard for Nellie to not play him next season. Anthony Randolph returned after sitting out due to his sprained left ankle, and he looked good again, remaining fluid and great with the ball in his hands.

Duds: A poor night for Marco Belinelli, who went 1-10 from the field and just looked out of sync throughout the game. Dion Dowell missed all the five shots he took.

Game 6: Denver 105 – Houston 104

Dahntay Jones was easily the story in this one, finishing with 29 points on 6-8 shooting off the bench for the Nuggets. He got to the line 19 times, making 17, as he was remaining aggressive and penetrated to the basket regularly. Jones also played very good defense – will he make the Nuggets’ roster?

Studs: Elton Brown helped Jones with a 21-point, 12-rebound performance; he’s been a great rebounder through all the games, and a nice offensive game hadn’t been seen today. Aaron Brooks and Joey Dorsey were great for the Rockets; Brooks went for 25 points and 10 assists while Dorsey picked up 22 points and 13 boards.

Duds: Donte Greene came back from an injury that occurred earlier this week and looked ok, but his strength is his range – he was 2-8 from three in this game. With each passing game, it looks less and less likely that Taurean Green is ready for the NBA – he went 0-5 in from the field and notched only one assist.

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

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