Monday, July 11, 2005

Vegas Summer League Recap: Days 3 and 4

Here’s what went down on Days 3 and 4 at the Vegas Summer League this weekend:


Star of the Game:
Kevin Martin (SAC)- 21 points, 8-15 FG, 3 rebounds, 2 assists

--The Kings continued to rely heavily on second-year SG Kevin Martin as his 21 points helped the Kings pick up their first VSL win against the hapless Nets. Erik Daniels led the frontcourt with 14 points and 5 rebounds while undrafted rookie Ronnie Price chipped in with 12. Franciso Garcia has yet to find his shooting touch in 2 games (2-10 on Saturday), but was able to help out with 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, and a block.

--The Nets continue to look like the VSL's version of the Atlanta Hawks, once again providing little challenge for a mediocre Kings squad. Antoine Wright is already drawing bust labels with yet another embarrassing performance (5-18 FGs), and has a shooting percentage of .277 that's worse than David Wright of the New York Mets' batting average. For a guy drafted to be a top perimeter threat on the team, he's done very little to show that he's a more fearful outside shooter than D.J. Mbenga. Melvin Sanders (16 points) and Sam Clancy (11 points) continued their impressive play this summer and are giving themselves a legitimate shot at making the roster this fall.

Kevin Martin leads the VSL in scoring at 22.7 PPG.

Denver 92, Detroit 77

Star of the Game:
Boniface N'Dong (DEN)- 21 minutes, 14 points, 7-8 FG, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block

--Denver finally showed signs of life this summer in an impressive 92-77 win over the Detroit Pistons. All three drafted rookies-- Julius Hodge (16 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals), Linas Kleiza (12 points and 6 rebounds in 23 minutes), and Ricky Sanchez (7 points, a triple, and 2 RBIs looked sharp in the win. The Nuggets also continued to get strong play from two mild surprises in Luis Flores (16 points, 2 steals) and Boniface N'Dong.

--The Pistons didn't have a problem scoring on the Nuggets, but where is 'Dee-Troit Basket-Ball' when you need it? Jason Maxiell continues to show that his bruising body will be a force to reckon with on the offensive end (21 points, 8-13 FG), but he's going to need to do a better job defensively if he wants to work his way into the Pistons' rotatioon next season. In a developing rotation battle, Alex Acker (17 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals), the last pick of the draft by Detroit, once again outplayed disappointing Carlos Delfino (13 points, 7 turnovers). Meanwhile, Darko Milicic was solid, but not spectacular in tallying 13 points in 6 rebounds in 35 minutes of game action.

Darko has been nothing more than Zarko-like thus far-- which isn't saying much.

Phoenix 74, Clippers 68

Star of the Game:
Leandro Barbosa (PHX)- 35 minutes, 32 points, 11-20 FG, 10-12 FT

--Leandro Barbosa single-handedly carried the Suns to victory Saturday in dropping 32 points on the Clippers, including 17 in a 4th quarter in which he alone outscord the entire Clippers team by 5. Phoenix battled back from a 10 point halftime deficit thanks to Barbosa and undrafted rookie Stephen Graham (brother of Toronto pick Joey) who staked his claim for attention with 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists in the win.

--The Clippers also were led by a one-man show in Chris Kaman (25 points, 10 rebounds) who proved to be an unstoppable force against Phoenix's thin frontline. Quinton Ross and Erwin Dudley chipped in 12 apiece for the Clippers, who are now 0-2 in VSL play.

Star of the Game:
Nate Robinson (NYK)- 19 points, 8-14 FG, 6 rebounds

--The Knicks jumped out to a 30-19 first quarter lead and never looked back in downing the Washington Wizards 80-71. Nate Robinson continued to provide doses of the entertainment he promises to bring to MSG next season in scoring 19 points on a series of highlight-reel plays. The Knicks also got some superb play from fellow first round pick David Lee, who went off for 13 points and 6 rebounds in only 14 minutes. Unfortunately, lottery pick Channing Frye couldn't live up to the awesome performances by his teammates in scoring only 5 points and 2 rebounds against a big Washington frontline featuring Andray Blatche, Peter John Ramos, and Jamal Sampson-- all at least 7-feet tall. This could be a telling sign critics who are concerned about Frye's ability to produce against bigger players.

--The Wizards were led by Donnell Taylor's 14 points in only 21 minutes-- Taylor has played well thus far for the Wiz and may be looked at to help full the void left behind by Larry Hughes. The Wizards also received double-digit scoring efforts from former Kentucky player Gerald Fitch and Andray Blatche.

How do you spell bust? F-R-Y-E

Cleveland 82, Golden State 69

Star of the Game:
John Lucas, Jr. (CLE)- 14 mins, 12 points, 6-8 FG

--The Warriors dropped to 0-2 in VSL play with an 82-69 loss to the Cavs on Saturday night. Ike Diogu continued to impress with 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks, while fellow draftees Monta Ellis and Chris Taft combined for 18 points, but also 11 turnovers. Andris Biedrins (4 points, 2 rebounds) was once again disappointing and that might cause some concern for Warriors fans who were expecting last year's lottery pick to break out this season.

--Nobody on Cleveland besides Luke Jackson played more than 21 minutes, but the balanced attack appears to be working for the 2-0 Cavaliers. John Gilchrist and John Lucas, Jr. combined for 22 points 10-14 shooting in only 25 minutes from the point guard position-- a nice sign for a team desperately searching for depth at the point.


Orlando 75, New Orleans 71

Star of the Game:
Dwight Howard (ORL)- 24 Mins, 21 Pts, 9-12 FG, 9 Rebs, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

Dwight Howard is a man among boys in the VSL.

--The Hornets continued their struggles in Summer League action on Sunday, but this time they could use the excuse of playing without Chris Paul and David West due to injuries (both are expected back Tuesday). J.R. Smith was forced to shoulder the offensive load for New Orleans, but responded with a mediocre 19 point performance on just 6-20 shooting (3-12 from beyond the arc). Maciej Lampe continued to play well this summer, providing one of the few bright spots for the Hornets by chipping in with 12 points, 10 boards, and a couple of steals. Sean Banks finally proved he has a pulse by proving his first contribution to the team with 12 points (and 5 turnovers) in 30 minutes of play, but fellow rookie Brandon Bass (4 pts, 5 rebs in 17 mins) has still yet to be a factor in VSL play.

--Roger Mason, Jr. sank 3 free throws with 7.6 seconds left to all but lock up a victory for the Orlando Magic on Sunday afternoon. Dwight Howard led the way with a dominating 21 points in just 24 minutes, with Mason adding 17 and Jameer Nelson scoring 13. Nelson has still yet to play well enough to convince the Magic not to go out searching for another point guard this summer, so it's important that he step up his game as we head into the 2nd week of VSL games.

Cleveland 78, Denver 55

Star of the Game:
Olumide Oyediji (CLE)- 24 mins, 14 pts, 6-6 FG, 9 rebs, 1 stl, 1 blk

--The Denver Nuggets returned to their old form after winning on Saturday, as they were once again tarred and feathered on their way to another vicious beating in VSL action. Luis Flores led the way with a team-high 11 points (yes, 11), 4 rebounds, and 4 assists and continues to be the only Nugget seeming to belong on the court thus far. Julius Hodge sucked-- 35 minutes, 7 points on 3-13 FGs; Linas Kleiza had as many fouls as points (7), Rickey Sanchez continued his VSL slump (0-4, ground into two double plays and committed one error), and even NBA Source favorite Boniface N'Dong struggled (6 fouls in 12 minutes).

--The Cavs once again thrived with a balanced attack as four players scored in double-figures including rookies John Lucas (12) and John Gilchrist (14). The former starring college point guards continue to duke it out for what could very well be an invitation to the Cavaliers' training camp this fall. The Cavs also finally got a solid performance from Luke Jackson (12 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists) who was beginning to draw concern about his subpar play. Cleveland is now 3-0 heading into what could be a collision of undefeated teams against the Celtics on Tuesday.

Dallas 82, Portland 60

Star of the Game:
Josh Powell (DAL): 25 Mins, 13 Pts, 4-6 FG, 12 Rebs

--The Blazers were just completely overmatched by the Mavericks on both ends of the floor en route to a humiliating 82-60 loss Sunday. Travis Outlaw has struggled to regain the form that raised eyebrows on Day 1, going for just 9 points on 4-16 shooting in 33 minutes. Sebastian Telfair suffered his first down game this summer as he shot just 2-13 and dished out only 3 assists. Ha Seung-Jin provided one of the more memorable lines this summer-- 19 minutes, 0-0 FG, 0-0 FT, 0 Points, 3 Rebounds, 3 Turnovers, and 9 fouls. Ha!

--Meanwhile the Mavs continued to play well at the VSL, thanks in large part to the stellar frontcourt play of Josh "The Reverend" Powell and Pavel Podkolzin (15 Pts, 8 Rebs). Dallas also got more signs of a diamond in the rough that goes by the name of Michael Harris-- the undrafted Rice product scored 12 points in 22 minutes, but it's the athleticism and defense that he's displayed that the Mavericks are falling in love with. And Felipe Lopez took another progressive step towards a remarkable return to the NBA with his first double-digit scoring game-- 10 points and 6 rebounds in 20 minutes.

Josh Powell may have left NC State a bit too early a couple years ago, but he's showing his value this summer by leading the VSL in rebound at 11.7 RPG.

Chicago 72, Sacramento 71

Star of the Game:
Kevin Martin (SAC)- 32 minutes, 28 points, 9-12 FG, 10-12 FT, 5 rebs

--Kevin Martin took over the VSL scoring lead (22.7 PPG) by dropping 28 points in a 72-71 loss to the Bulls Sunday night. Martin's exceptional play might have the Kings convinced that he can step in and start at the 2 for them next season, but I'd still expect Geoff Petrie to sign a veteran shooting guard to help replace the departing Cuttino Mobley. Rookie Francisco Garica continud to struggle, going for just 8 points on 3-11 shooting and now holds a FG% of 23%.

--Eddie Basden sunk 2 free throws with 0.5 seconds left to win the game for the Bulls. Basden continues to really impress Chicago with his play as he led the team with 18 points. The no-name Bulls squad also got double-digit performances from Kasib Powell and Drago Pasalic (1o points each).


At 11:57 AM, Blogger No Good Records said...

Josh Powell is not the "Reverend" on the Mavs summer league team. Roger Powell who went to Illinois is the Reverend. There are two powells on the team. Just so ya know

At 4:00 PM, Blogger Paul Benedict said...

You're right and I KNEW that too-- CBS ran that story on Roger more than once this March. My fault, thanks for the correction.


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