Final Score: Nuggets 87 Suns 79
Halftime Score: Denver Nuggets 49 Phoenix Suns 44
Linas Kleiza- Kleiza continues to put up great numbers in Vegas. His jumper is looking great and its falling for him at an excellent clip, out to about 20 feet. Thats really opening up his slashing game and Kleiza has indeed been taking the ball to the basket tenaciously all week long. Hes also putting the effort in on defense and on the glass, while also passing the ball extremely well basically doing all that the Nuggets could ask of him here in Vegas. He single-handedly carried Denvers offense in the first half when he was on the floor.
Kleiza kept shooting the lights out in the 2nd half as well, on his way to around 25 points. Hes been absolutely unstoppable today from the perimeter and on the dribble drive. Kleizas made a very strong impression here in Vegas. Lets see how that translates over to the regular season in Denvers stacked rotation. Kleiza finished with 26 points, 5 rebounds on 10-17 shooting.
Boniface NDong- NDong seems to be having another good showing for himself after slowing down a bit as the week wore on. His jumper was really falling for him once again from outside, and he was also challenging shots around the rim and even coming up with some blocks. Unfortunately for Boniface, this was mostly an up and down affair for most of the half, which isnt great for this semi-mobile 7 footers style of play. Hes still giving 100% as usual, though.
Not much action or production for N'Dong in the 2nd half.
Julius Hodge- Hodge started being a little more aggressive in the 2nd quarter and did his usual stuff getting to the hole.
Hodge ended up having a solid game by his standards. His outside jumper wasnt falling but he still managed to scrap his way to the hoop somehow for some easy buckets.He had a tough time with Stevie Graham on both ends of the floor in the 2nd half, though. He finished with 14 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals on 5/11 shooting.
Tyus Edney- Edney is 100% healthy, that much is for sure. He was making some crazy moves getting to the basket and either finishing, finding the open man or getting to the line. The entire complexion of the game changes when this guy is on the court. 14 points was his total in this game on 5/7 shooting.
Luis Flores- Flores finished the game with 20 points on 7/13 shooting. He somehow always manages to get the job done, even if you dont really expect him to or even notice him. He doesn't like to pass too much, but he surely knows how to put the ball in the hoop.
Steven Graham-Graham was given a lot of ball handling responsibility and really made a good showing of it. Graham was active and aggressive on his drives and finished a couple of very impressive drives. Graham had one reverse-spin up and under move on Luke Schenscher and made another hard drive to the inside where he switched hands to lay it up smoothly. More proactive play like this will get Stevie noticed for sure.
Steven continued to play well in the second half. Graham used his nice handle and aggressive drive to set up a couple of solid assists. Graham had a basket and foul on a fast break finish as well as a smooth rhythm jumper. The best part of Stevens game was his defensive effort against both Julius Hodge and Linas Klieza, which showed off his versatility as well as his teams trust in him. He finished with 16 points, 5 rebounds on 6/10 shooting.
Graham has had a very solid showing here throught the Vegas Summer league. He's looked very smooth in everything he's done, not forcing anything and always looking to make the right play. The Suns should definitely lock him up soon because he's probably not going to stay without a contract for too long...there's no doubt that he has completely outplayed Dijon Thompson, while he's looked just as good if not better than Julius Hodge for most of the 9 days here so far.
Ron Slay-Ron seems to be the object of scorn for the entire Nuggets team. Virtually every player has taken a cheap shot at Slay and hes responded with a tremendous effort. Slay has show strong drive skills and has returned all the physical play back at his man with strong defense. Slay shows a nice touch from mid range and uses the threat to go inside where he uses good footwork and decision making to get his points.
Ron continues to look fluid on his drives to the hoop and has shown the type of outside touch that make it difficult to gamble on defensively. Slay has also shown a solid passing eye and made the right choice on almost all of his possessions. With a relatively weak phoenix bench in front of him, I wouldnt be surprised if they kept him on-hed make a fine backup to Stoudamire and Marion as yet another tweaner with skill and IQ. Slay had 17 points in 22 minutes today.
Lynn Greer-Greer isnt a true point guard, but his knack for scoring the ball belays his small stature. Greer isnt quick enough to really make a contribution to an NBA team, but his skill and relatively sound decision making will get him a starting spot on some European team in need of a quality scoring guard. 19 points, 4 assists, 5/9 shooting were his totals.
Boston Celtics vs. Golden State Warriors
Final Score: Boston 108 Golden State 89.
Halftime Score: Golden State 44- Boston 41
Kendrick Perkins-The only bright spot for a sorry Celtics first half. Perkins rebounded on both ends and blocked a few shots. Perkins got himself to the free throw line a couple of times also. Kendrick hit an outside jumper too.
Perkins finally had his breakout game and really displayed a tantalizing offensive repertoire. Perkins rebounded every ball he went after and really locked down on his man for position. Facing continual help-defensive pressure down low, Perkins started taking some mid-range jumpers and hit all but one. On one attempt Perkins showed the ball, drove hard right, and pulled up for a soft 12 footer. If Perkins could hit these shots consistently hed really be a nice compliment to Jefferson on the offensive end. Perkins finished with 13pts and 9rbs officially, but write him down for a double-double.
Al Jefferson-Al grabbed some boards and blocked a shot. He picked up a few needless fouls, but showed a good post repertoire in limited minutes.
Jefferson was dominant in the second half defensively. Al blocked at least 3 shots, took a charge, and rebounded every ball in his area. Jefferson didnt go for much on offense, but what he did go for he completed. Solid showing for him, finishing with 9 pts, 6rbs to go along with 3 blocks.
Will Bynum-Played some heady defense, but picked up some needless fouls. Will tried to be a point guard more and found the open man on the dish a few times.
Will had another good half of basketball and scored well from outside and in. Wills shot was really working for him today and he used it to take control of the game from the point guard position. Bynum seemed to get more confident as the game went on and started showing a little flash in his handle and passes. Bynum finished with 11pts and 4 asts.
Justin Reed-Reed had his outside stroke going early and tried his best to keep his team in the game. Had a rebound or two that were impressive, but not much else. Played point guard and shooting guard most of the first half.
Justin had an electric 2nd half and really opened up his offensive arsenal. Reed added 2 or 3 deep balls to go along with some heavy work on the offensive boards and his energy and outside shooting opened up driving lanes. Reed hit all his free throws and finished as the leading scorer for the Celtics. Justin finished with 17pts and 4rbs.
Ryan Gomes-Had a couple of solid efforts, beating two defenders for a loose ball and finishing smoothly. With no true point guard in the game and the Celtics fooling around with Tony Allen at the point Gomes is not getting the touches he needs to be effective. Gomes did hit a very nice and 1 jumper from about 18 feet.
Like all the Celtics, Ryan had a great second half. Gomes is the epitome of efficiency as he converted on all but two of his attempts on the day. Ryan showed his typical court awareness with a great over the shoulder pass to a cutting Will Bynum and added a lightning quick reverse-spin lay-in that split the double team. Gomes didnt have as many rebounds but, considering he played at the three most of the game and how well both Perkins and Jefferson did, I wouldnt read too much into it. Gomes finished with 15pts and 2 rbs.
Tony Allen-Celtics used him at the point for whetever reason and he had little success with it. Tony still had a significant impact by playing frenetically on both sides of the ball including a windmill block on a Andris Biedrins lay-in attempt. Tonys shot has looked smooth as well, hes hit a couple nice perimeter shots.
Tony had a better 2nd half than his 1st half. Allen was hitting all types of pull-up jumpers off the drive and he did it in both directions. Tony used an improved handle to really set up his defender and basically got to any spot he chose. Allens highlight was a driving jam over the opposing center where he hung for emphasis as the crowd cheered. Tony rebounded well and added another dunk on a steal that may have topped the first. Tony finished with 23pts on 9-13 shooting
Gerald Green-Gerald is so far away from contributing at this point its scary. He doesnt move without the ball, picks up stupid fouls and looks lost on the court. Green goes to his jumper almost exclusively and has yet to truly test his defender with anything other than the predictable pull-up. Monta Ellis will never have Greens size or explosiveness, but hes so much farther along in his skill set its not even funny.
Gerald didnt force anything in the 2nd half and had a couple of nice plays to show for it. On one play Gerald stole the ball and tipped it to himself a couple of times to keep it in bounds. On another occasion Green finished a reverse ally-oop from Justin Reed that got the crowd on their feet. Gerald used this energy to get off a nice looking jumper that he nailed. Gerald finally beat his defender to the hoop for an emphatic one-handed stuff on his last attempt of the day.
Taylor Coppenrath-Taylor continues to show good instincts and uses them to make things happen for himself. Taylor has very nice footwork in the paint and even though his moves are slow to develop he seems to be able to get his man to bite on them.
Taylor had a very productive 2nd half. Taylor had two and 1 plays, though he missed a lot of free throws. Taylor battled and grabbed some hustle rebounds, making good use of his time on the court. Taylor had 10pts and 6rbs in 18 minutes of action.
Andris Biedrins- A dominant first half for the Latvian seven footer. He took the ball strong every single time he got the ball in the post, and was rewarded with both points and fouls with the work he did inside. Biedrins challenged Bostons big men again and again and came away on top almost every single time with a dunk or a trip to the line thanks to his tenacity around the rim. Biedrins is one tough SOB, thats for sure. He played excellent defense in the post as well, blocking a few shots and changing many others. His free throw mechanics are horrible thanks to a really bad hitch just as he is about to release it, but it actually went in for him today at a decent clip.
Biedrins barely played in the 2nd half, but looked good when he was on the floor. He managed to scrap together enough rebounds to get to double digits and added a basket to make his way to 17 points as well.
Monta Ellis- Ellis continues to play extremely well and is gaining more and more confidence in himself by the day. He got to the basket whenever he pleased thanks to his outstanding first step and some great moves on the perimeter to free himself up. Time after time he floated through the lane and showed a soft touch around the basket. His passing skills started off looking shaky, but as the game progressed he started showing some real flashes of court vision. The pick and roll is still a foreign concept to him, but Ellis showed a lot of tools here to lead you to believe that he will be fine after some seasoning in the NBDL.
Monta played 8 minutes in the third quarter at the off guard spot and did absolutely nothing. In the 4th quarter in the midst of a 25 point blowout he got to play the point once again and managed to make things happen on the offensive end like he did in the first half. He continued to get to the basketball at will and always finished strong at the basket even after drawing contact. He also showed off his stroke from behind the arc, one of the stronger points of his game. He finished with 20 points on 7-13 shooting.
Ike Diogu- A quiet first half for Diogu today, but he still made his presence felt on the glass pretty well and by scoring a little bit around the basket. He picked his spots pretty well and did a better job of staying out of foul trouble this time.
Another nice half for Diogu, without drawing too much attention to himself. He did his job on both ends of the floor and finished with 15 points and 7 rebounds.
Jawad Williams- After a decent first half with 6 points, his first glimpse of life in this summer league beyond his quotes about how good he is, Jawad came out firing in the 2nd half but wasnt hitting anything from outside to start off with. He kept taking the first look he was given every time he touched the ball, looking as if he was desperate to just get up as many shots as he could in as little time as possible. A couple of very nice tip in on offensive rebounds and some dunks around the basket helped him get going in the second half to finish with 17 points. This has been a very frustrating week for Jawad here so far, not being able to show off too much of the athletic ability or defense which even made him a prospect to start off with. He came to life a little bit at times here today, but still has a long way to go to show people that he is truly an NBA player. Scoring garbage points around the basket like he did today isn't going to cut it.
Detroit Pistons vs. New Orleans Hornets
Final Score Detroit 87- New Orleans 73.
Halftime Score: New Orleans Hornets 40 Detroit Pistons 39
Darko Milicic- Darko Polo! Another invisible half for the former #2 pick in the 2003 draft. Darko is trying to do something positive out there, but nothing is working for him. His jump hook shoot still isnt falling for him, and hes getting so frustrated being denied by Lampe and Bass inside that he is once again fading outside for hoping to set up for the 18 footer. He was getting killed on both ends of the floor by Maciej Lampe (who is starting to pan out) and couldnt help fouling him time after time around the basket. Jackson Vroman came in in the 2nd half and got Darko to bite on his head fake hook line and sinker before blowing by him for the easy dunk. On the very next play Vroman stripped him on the perimeter for a great steal and feed to JR Smith for the dunk. Darko looks completely out of here.
Darko managed to scrap together a statline for himself in the 2nd half by pulling down some boards and getting to the line a bit. His jumper was falling for him a bit more from outside and he was a little more aggressive inside. All in all the Pistons were probably expecting a lot more from him here. They have a tough decision to make regarding whether or not to pick up the last year on his contract now.
Alex Acker- Having another outstanding game here. Ackers shot is falling for him from anywhere on the court, and hes doing it without forcing things even one bit here. He comes off screens beautifully and gets his shot off cleanly from mid-range and behind the arc. Hes also taking the ball strong to the hoop and finishing intelligently off the glass from tough situations. He knows how to use his teammates body to create space for himself, and then uses the rim on the up and under to shield himself from the shotblocker. This kid is really smooth and smart, he looks like a lock to make the team and the Pistons have told people here as much already.
Not as many minutes for Acker in the 2nd half. The Pistons probably saw all they needed to see out of him in the 1st. He had a couple more nice moves but no longer was shooting 100% from the field when it was all said and done.
Jason Maxiell- Settling a little bit more for the jumper today, with mixed results. Had a nice turnaround J on Lampe and then came right back to block his shot mercilessly shortly after. Hes been a little bit more quiet besides that for once.
Didnt play too many minutes in the 2nd half either.
Amir Johnson-Amir finally showed something that resembled NBA skills. Johnson was the beneficiary of many assists as he dunked at least 5 times. Amir also had some success as a feature offensive player on a couple nice drives toward the center of the paint. Defensively Amir was much less active, but still managed to find 8-10 rebounds. It was just Johnsons day today.
Chris Paul-Chris Paul has come to play with his passing game today. Pauls wrist has limited his offensive aggressiveness, but has done nothing but accentuate his defensive abilities. Paul had at least 3 steals in the first half and showed an array of different passes that culminated in a sweet 35 foot ally-oop to JR Smith, who finished with a one-handed jam. Paul even blocked a shot in this game, but landed on his wrist for the effort. Maybe the landing fixed what was wrong with the wrist because Paul rocked his defender off him with a smooth step-back jumper that nestled into the hoop. He followed up his jumper with a couple more smooth hoops to round out a very solid first half, finishing close to double-digits in assists.
Pauls 2nd half was pretty much the same as his first except he didnt do as much. Paul continued to show impeccable point guard instincts and really picked his spots well. A little surliness reared its head when Paul was called on an offensive foul and left the ball in the middle of the court, but he circled back and gave it to the official so no harm done.
Maciej Lampe-Lampe had a very nice first half on both ends of the court. Lampe got to the line with some nice footwork and fakes inside and hit his free throws. Lampe also grabbed a couple of offensive rebounds and was generally very active. He didnt play much in the first half though.
Maciej didnt really play in the second half. Jackson Vroman got an extended look instead and hustled as usual.
Brandon Bass-Bass has been an enigma this week. He hasnt been getting the ball from his teammates and has looked very indecisive when he does have it. Still, Bass finished with power a couple of times on some sweet assists from Chris Paul and made one very strong post move where he used his quickness, power, and footwork to beat two defenders from the left block.
JR Smith-JR had a quiet half until his one-handed jam at the end. JR has shown the staff about all they need to see and that is most likely why he isnt dominating the ball like he did in the first few games. JR made a sweet step-back bank shot with perfect shooting form for his second basket of the half.
JR really toned down his game today and focused on quality instead of quantity. Smith allowed Chris Paul to be a point guard and was the prime recipient of many a fine pass. JR made the spectacular look rudimentary on a number of possessions often contorting his body in crazy ways only to finish with the softest of lay-ins or the most emphatic of dunks. There was major progress in JRs decision making today and he had his best game because of it.
Portland Trailblazers vs. Washington Wizards
Final Score: Portland 90 Washington 78
Halftime Score: Portland 40 Washington 33.
Sebastian Telfair- Telfair is having another one of those games, running his team extremely well, looking like a pass first PG and getting to the hoop and either finishing or taking the foul. His defense has been very good as well. Telfair as usual is making everyone around him better. That little tear drop floater he has added to his arsenal this past year has really become a great weapon for him to finish amongst the trees.
In the 4th quarter Telfairs outside shot even started falling for him, which gave him that much more space to operate to get his passes off for a couple of phenomenal alley-oop lobs to Travis Outlaw. He finished the game with 27 points and about 12 assists here. He continued to show improvement in his outside shot and finished 3-7 from behind the arc.
Martell Webster- Websters shot isnt really falling for him again. He looks quite out of it mentally as well. You can tell in his body language that his confidence just isnt there. He had one great move in the 2nd half putting the ball on the floor for once, jab stepping his man left and then taking him right before doing a reverse spin move on Ramos. The problem with Webster is that he really doesnt help his team out in any other areas when his shot isnt falling. You would like to see him use his body a little better to rebound, post up, play defense or just do anything beyond catching and shooting. He has shown some basketball IQ in his passing a bit over the past week, but hes going to take some time and added confidence for him to begin to fulfill his potential.
In the 4th quarter Webster took the ball even more to the basket and got to the line. He hit all his free throws of course, finishing the game with a decent statline today. Webster ended up with 15 points on 4-11 shooting.
Travis Outlaw- Outlaws outside shot wasnt falling for him today, he is still extremely streaky when hes doing anything outside of the paint. He made his presence felt in other areas, though, making some nice passes, rebounding, playing active defense and continuing to constantly push and challenege his man on both ends of the floor. In the 2nd half, after going 1-6 in the first, his pull-up jumper started falling for him a little bit better, which opens up his slashing game for him tremendously. He finished with 17 points and 8 rebounds on 7-14 shooting.
Hiram Fuller- Another active and productive game for the energetic Fuller. Hes done another great job on the glass, has been converting around the basket and playing very good defense inside. Not much going for Hiram in the 2nd half. He still finished with 10 points and 8 rebounds, though
Henry Domercant-Henry is a 2 in a 1s body, but dont tell him that today. A very highly regarded player in Europe, Henry hadnt really shown much before todays game. The competition Telfair provided must have brought out the best in Henry, from a scoring standpoint. Domercant his at least 3 or 4 three point field goals and had one drive inside for a sweet windmill jam over the Blazers center. Domercamt only had a couple of assists though, despite all the ball handling he did, and he must show better decision making if he wants a shot at a roster, theyre not going to drop every time and they havent so far this week. More point guard skills must be shown, but his scoring was enough for 19 points this game.
Andray Blatche-Andray had a so-so game. Blatche scored 11 points on the game and had his usual awe-inspiring play or two, but hes still learning how to put it all together for himself. Andray had a couple of very nice inlet passes and hooked up teammates on drives on a number of occasions. Blatche has typically scored better early and passed better late in games, so atleast hes finding ways to contribute when the defense takes away his drive.
Accurecruit.com will have all of the Vegas Summer League games on their site for you to view. Right now there are select games along with a great free three minute highlight clip of some of the best plays seen in Vegas. Head over to Accurecruit.com's website and check out what they have to offer. On Tuesday, July 26th the entire Summer League will be up for you to view