At the end of Day 4, I felt like a chicken with my head cut off, for i had been running around everywhere. Some games I had to leave early to get seats for others. one game I left early because it was terrible basketball, saw an exciting end of another game, then rushed back over to the original game when I heard it was close late and threatening to go into overtime. Such is life at the NBA Summer League.
Charlotte Bobcats 84, New York Knicks 71
When I talk about impressive performances, this game is definitely included. A number of players were impressive in their time, and I had so much fin watching them that the score didn't matter. I came away delighted the most with Knicks' forward C.J. Leslie. He had 15 points on 15 shots, which isn't that great, but he was able to get to the lane seemingly whenever he wanted. He ran the floor well in transition, and was capable of handling the rock and making a play for either himself or a teammate on the break, which is a huge asset for a forward. Another Knicks player I liked a lot was one I talked about in the preview: Toure Murry. The former Witchita State Shocker looked good defensively, as he hounded whomever he was guarding, forced 3 steals in the game, and scored well in transition. For the Bobcats, Jeffery Taylor had another great game. He went 6-14 from the field on his way to 20 points. He also went 7-10 from the free throw line. Again he put on display his ability to break down his defender and get to a certain spot on the floor, and pull up for a jumper.
This is the game where I left early because it was so bad. There were so many fouls, so many turnovers, such sloppy basketball that I couldn't take it anymore, so I went to the other gym and watched the tail end of New Orleans/Cleveland. I regret nothing. Austin Rivers and Brian Roberts were especially fun to watch at the end of this game. Rivers, whose game I've never liked, was dynamite at the end. He ran the pick-and-roll well, got to the rim, and gave his team some much needed baskets at the end to stay in the lead. Then, with the Cavaliers needing a defensive stop and score to tie the game late, Brian Roberts of the Pelicans crossed up his defender then nailed a midrange jumper for a dagger. After that, I raced back over to the Thomas & Mack Center just in time to see Marcus Morris f the Suns hit a midrange jumper to save everybody from summer league overtime.
Another game I had to leave early, but not because of my own selfish reasons. This time I left at the half to go watch Spurs/Hawks, so I could write about it here. But, from what I saw of it, the Gollden State Warriors played great, and Kent Bazemore stood out. He was relentless defensively, chasing Kings guard Ben McLemore around every screen denying everything, closing out perfectly on shoooters, and forcing pick-and-rolls to the sideline. It was really quite spectacular to watch. For the Kings, Ray McCallum was their best player in the half I saw, which really doesn't mean that much. Every pick-and-roll he tried to run was forced to the sideline. (Or "pushed", as most teams call it on the floor.) When the Warriors' main group was out, he found some room to operate and hit some midrange jumpers, but that's all they allowed him. Poor Ben McLemore looked so bad out there. He was chased off screen after screen by Kent Bazemore, who clearly had no intentions on taking it easy on the rookie. McLemore forced shoots, and when he had to make something for himself, he lost his dribble a lot. This has been a frustrating summer league for McLemore, who has a lot to work on with his all-around offensive game and defense.
San Antonio Spurs 96, Atlanta Hawks 87
I recapped this game in full here, but here are some bits and pieces. DeShaun Thomas won me over completely with his shooting prowess and new-found willingness to pass. Nando De Colo morphed into "Nando De YOLO" for this game, getting extremely crafty with the basketball. Mike Scott of the Atlanta Hawks had a fantastic birthday, scoring 27 points in the game.
Monday was a crazy, crazy day in Vegas, which is what I have come to expect. The Spurs don't play on Tuesday, but I'll be there for any oother league-wide shenanigans that end up taking place.