Sunday was my first full day in Las Vegas, and my first full slate of summer league games. Boy howdy, was I not prepared. Summer league is a marathon not a sprint, which is something I learned the hard way.
I love basketball more than most of the general population. It's why I'm in Las Vegas. It's why I write at Pounding the Rock. It's why I watch the game in the first place. I love it.
However, no matter how much you Iove basketball, trying to take diligent notes on four games in a row is exhausting work. It was like being in a 9 hour lecture in school, but actually being completely interested in the topic at hand. So, as of this moment I'm currently fighting off every urge to fall asleep right here on top of my laptop. Crazy nights in Vegas, huh?
Anyways, I''m going to recap the games I watched (the games I previewed), and hope I can type faster than I fall asleep.
D-League Select Team 83, Los Angeles Clippers 77
I know the D-League won this game, but Samardo Samuels is so incredibly good. Well, relatively speaking. He was second on his team in scoring with 15 points (Reggie Bullock had 18), but he was easily the most efficient. He got his 15 points in only 6 shots, as he bullied his way around the rim for baskets, and had 9 free throw attempts. Speaking of FTAs, Elijah Millsap of the D-League got 20 at the stripe, which is insane. He made 15 of them on his way to 21 points and a dagger of a baseline dunk. Jerome Randle of the Cippers also impressed me a lot in this game. He didn't score at all, but he came off the bench and dished out 8 assists to his teammates. He had great court vision, and excellent touch on all of his passes. He may be a bit small, but I'd really like to see more of him as the week goes on.
This game was a bit of a letdown for me. I was so excited for guys like C.J. McCollum, Josh Selby the King of Summer League (Yes, that is his full name.), and Ryan Kelly; and those guys were all either subpar or didn't play at all. Instead, I was treated to Lester Hudson being the best player on the Lakers and Meyers Leonard 's awkward post-game being the best offensive option for the Blazers. Ick. Heck, at the end of the game I found myself just cheering for Josh Selby to shoot every time down the floor just so maybe he could catch fire again. No dice. McCollum did have an ok game, hitting a couple threes off the dribble and putting his ball-handling talents on display. So that was nice.
To be honest, I dn't really remember much of this game. It's either because I was too busy basking in the glory of the Thomas & Mack Center's chicken fingers, or because my brain is consciously blocking the part of my memory that stores crappy games I've watched. It's probably a mix of both. I do know that not only did neither of these teams shoot over 40% from the field, the Memphis Grizzlies shot at 23.7% from the field. The only bright spot fr Memphis was rookie Jack Cooley, who scored a cool 20 points in the game on 7-13 shots. Even his night was a little off too tough, as he shot 2 airballs on wide open three point attempts. The only other thing I recall is Dion Waiters taking about every single shot he could. So nothing was out of the ordinary for Waiters, I guess.
Toronto Raptors 82, San Antonio Spurs 76
I already dedicated a full post to this game, so I won't repeat myself much here, but I can give a couple tidbits. Both Jonas Valanciunas and Cory Joseph were very good. DeShaun Thomas played like DeShaun Thomas which means lots of points and a hint of D. There, that's all you're getting.
Alright, that's it for Day 3 of the NBA Summer League. It was an long, exhausting, eventful day. And tomorrow is going to be the same exact way! Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go introduce my head to a pillow.