Final Score: Clippers 94- Nuggets 78.
Halftime Score: Los Angeles Clippers 46 Denver Nuggets 31
Linas Kleiza- Yet another solid outing from the extremely consistent Kleiza. He continues to amaze everyone in attendance with his outstanding motor and polished perimeter skills considering that he was played out of position at Missouri for two years before he wisely decided to bail on them. Kleiza also rebounded well and did his best on defense. He finished the game with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Julius Hodge- Hodge continues to get the job done once again , slashing hard to the basket time after time and either finishing or getting to the line. Hes also playing tough defense and moving the ball around well.
Ricky Sanchez- Sanchez cant seem to get anything done here in Summer League, showing far less sparks than any of the other high school players who went beneath him in the draft like Andray Blatche or Monta Ellis. He once again settled for bad shots from the perimeter, played very little defense and generally didn't really show much upside here either with the way hes played. He finished the game today with 8 personal fouls.
Chris Kaman-Kaman was effective in the usual ways, but his minutes were limited in the first half as the team took extended looks at their anonymous roster.
Kaman decided to dominate in the 2nd half so he did. Its really that easy for him in this field of players. Kaman could really make himself into a top flight center if he is open to coaching. A true asset to any team, Kaman at least looks to enjoy playing the game and does it with energy, something that cant be said of all players.
Daniel Ewing-Ewing continues to improve up until the last game. Ewing is most likely destined for the D-league, but if he keeps working on his passing game he can become a decent point guard. Daniel has good body control and finishes well even when moving at full speed. When Daniel does let the game slow down he is keeping his head up and looking to make the right play. Ewing has looked much better as a point guard when the team is on the break, but hes come along way since day one.
Daniel had another solid 2nd half, but he still needs to work on his play as a point. Ewing made a few nice passes off the drive and continued to search for the right play, but you can tell it is not his first instinct. Ewing did have success scoring the ball off the dribble and he has improved game by game, which is good. I like him much more than Lionel Chalmers, who has shown no point guard instincts and virtually no improvement over the course of the week.
Mire Chatman-Chatman is going to get some mention here for a couple of reasons: for one, hes been playing very well for his team, setting up teammates and making quick, smart decisions. Secondly, Chatman is taking over the starting point guard position for Dynamo Moscow which is one of the most prestigious clubs in Russia, coached by former CSKA Moscow coach Dusan Ivkovic. Since weve watched Dynamos old point guard, Lynn Greer, as well in this league we can see why theyd invest in Chatman. He is clearly an upgrade.
The Clippers once again sent Chatman straight to the bench in the 2nd half and barely let him see any daylight. Here they have a guy who has proven himself in the 2nd best league in the world (the Euroleague) doing a wonderful job for them here running their offense unselfishly and getting everyone involved, and what do they do? They keep on playing the tweeners they drafted over the past two years twenty spots higher than they should have went. Chatman showed more PG skills in the 11 minutes he played here than both Chalmers and Ewing combined in the entire summer league. Its obvious that they need to justify their own ineptitude by desperately trying to get anything out of how high they draft every year in the 2nd round, but after ten days its time to say that the plan isnt working. Chatman will go back to Europe and make a million dollars plus next year (net), but its a shame that other NBA teams didnt get a chance to see what the kid could do because he clearly wants to play in the league next year. From what he showed here in the few minutes the Clippers spared him, he is surely more deserving than both Daniel Ewing and Lionel Chalmers.
We talked to him after the game and he seemed to be taking the entire thing in stride: "politics," he smiled and shrugged. "I don't mind though, I have a great contract for next year already."
We still think it's a damn shame.
Sacramento Kings vs. Dallas Mavericks
Final Score: Sacramento Kings
Halftime Score: Sacramento Kings 43 Dallas Mavericks 39.
Kevin Martin- Started off hitting a nice 18 footer off the dribble, followed that up next possession by dunking emphatically in transition. Martin was moving off the ball extremely well, constantly in motion and always looking to make things happen on the offensive end. An awesome finish off a superb alleyoop lob from Francisco Garcia was one of the best plays weve seen so far all day. Most of his other baskets around the rim in the first half were highlight reel caliber as well thanks to his outstanding quickness and leaping ability. Defensively he did a very good job guarding Felipe Lopez in the first half.
In the second half Martin continued to take the ball strong to the basket, although he seemed to prefer to pass off to his teammates now instead of finishing the play himself. He was responsible for a number of beautiful passes, including the assist to Erik Daniels that put the Kings up by 5 points with 43 seconds to go and essentialy sealed the game for them. Martin finished with 21 points and 4 rebounds.
Ronnie Price- Price is finally back after missing the last three games and you can see the difference in the way the Kings look on both ends of the court now that they have such an energetic guy running and guarding the point. He was shooting the ball pretty well in the first half, while also taking charges and diving for loose balls intelligently to make his presence felt on the defensive end. Price is anything but a pure PG, but he has played well enough in his few games here to get an invite to training camp and make teams think twice about keeping him around.
After a great first quarter, Price faded into the background and barely did anything in the remaining three quarters. His play in Portsmouth, Chicago and the little he showed here should most likely be enough to get him into training camp unless 80-100,000 dollar offers lure him to Europe.
Francisco Garcia- Garcia showed off his entire game in the 1st half, finally looking comfortable enough in his skin out there to make things happen on both ends of the floor. He made some superb passes to all of his teammates for easy baskets and was not forcing things even one bit on the offensive end. Defensively he was fantastic once again, bringing the crowd to its feet with a superb block, getting in the passing lanes to come up with steals, and moving his feet extremely well to stay in front of his man. Its this type of versatility that made Garcia a first round pick in the first round pick in the first place. Its also his ticket to playing time this year behind Kevin Martin and probably Maurice Evans if hes resigned. Just as I was about to sign off praising Garcia for the way he played in the first half, he comes back and jacks up off-balance three pointers on three straight possessions out of the context of the offense. He missed all three of them.
Garcia continued to have a solid game in the 2nd half when he was taking good shots. He really did a good job filling up the stat sheet. Garcis finished with 15 points 5 rebounds 3 assists 4 blocks and 2 steals.
Pavel Podkolzine-What can you say about Pavel? Hes large and not really that in charge. Pavel gets positional rebounds because, well, hes huge. But dont expect the big guy to come across the lane for any hustle plays. Pavel has dunked the ball and is somewhat reliable in close for the finish, but only if hes facing the basket. Pavel has almost no athleticism, cant put the ball on the floor, and has trouble with his pivot coordination. If hes not in position to finish hes an automatic turnover or brick. Almost no post ability at all, but boy can he stroke that free throw. The only thing that makes him better than Shawn Bradley is his size. He has a decent stroke and it could be utilized if the Mavs design their offense to include this, but I dont know if its worth it. Pavel accomplished a rare feat in this game by being called for offensive and defensive three second violations in consecutive possessions.
Pavel is a work in progress at best and I wanted to talk to Chad Ford about what he saw in him. Considering Chad has had quite a bit to say about summer league action here I thought I'd ask, but Chad has not been anywhere near the Pavilion in the ten days of action as far as I or anyone else here can tell.
DJ Mbenga-Now this kid has a chance to be a contributor to the Mavericks this year. DJ has a solid sense of timing on his blocks and wisely uses his long arms to avoid body contact on his swats. DJ runs the floor very well and has solid positional instincts that help him rebound fairly well. DJs biggest knock has been his offensive ability, but he has shown a very solid hook shot that he has made off the glass and clean down the middle. With a body chiseled from granite, hes worth keeping around.
Mbenga was a little quiet in the 2nd half, not playing too many minutes and not really asking for the ball too much in the post. He still played excellent defense and put his stamp on the game a number of times with some great blocks.
Josh Powell-Josh continues to produce points and rebound for his team with physical interior play, quickness, and timing. If Powell had a decent mid range jumper hed be a lock for a position on someones team, but hes stuck in between power forward and small forward right now. Still, Josh seems to have a decent looking stroke from a mechanical perspective. He squares his shoulders and gets his elbow in on his shot, so there is hope. Josh has great body control and sure hands which really help him to make quick decisions when he sees an opportunity. Someone may take a chance on him, there are players in the league who do less, and hell be paid to play this game by someone wholl no doubt reap the benefits of their investment. Powell finished with 9 points and 10 rebounds to finish up.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Portland Trailblazers
Final Score: Cavs 58- Blazers 54. Cavs finish up the SL undefeated.
Halftime Score: Cleveland Cavaliers 30 Portland Trailblazers 21.
Luke Jackson- Jackson continued right where he left off last game, stroking the jumper and making great passes to get everyone on his team involved. Most of the offense was run through him when he was on the floor. He looked more concerned with making assists rather than scoring, but seemed to either tire or just get dragged into the lethargic atmosphere that all the players seem to be suffering from here in the 2nd quarter.
Jacksons jumper left him pretty quickly though, and with it went his confidence. Luke was very inactive and really just moved the ball around rather than try to make things happen. He finished up with 12 points on 3-12 shooting.
Martynas Andriuskevicius- Martynas took a bad fall in the game before last and sat out the 2nd straight game for the Cavs today.
Olumide Oyedeji-Another big effort in an otherwise forgettable game. Oyddeji continued to hit the boards hard on both ends of the court and has shown a number of impressive move in the post. Oyedeji has a nice finishing touch and some slick footwork that he uses, along with his athleticism, to do good things inside. 8 points, 11 rebounds on 3-6 shooting was his final line.
James Thomas-The book is well known on Thomas-hes a rebounding, energy player whos a bit undersized for a power forward. But, James can rebound with the best of them. Though hes not as athletic or long as Ben Wallace, he brings similar intensity to the game and intimidates his opponents with his large frame and reckless abandon when attacking the glass. 3 points, 8 rebounds in 16 minutes.
Sebastian Telfair- Telfar was a lot more passive in this game compared with the way he started off in all of his other outings here in Vegas. He was still playing great defense but his jumper just wasnt falling for him and like many here, he seems to have had enough of Vegas after 10 days on the job. He was missing shots around the basket that he would have converted in his sleep in any other game here.
Sebastian had some more sweet passes in the second half and converted on a nice drive into the lane, but he missed his outside shot and didnt really do much the rest of the way. He finished with 8 points on 3-11 shooting.
Travis Outlaw- Outlaws pull-up jumper wasnt falling for him today, but he kept going to it time after time regardless. He still went to the hoop a couple of times in the first half and got to the line, which allowed him to put some points up on the board in what was otherwise a very average half for him. 16 points on 4-16 shooting and 8-10 from the line in this game for Outlaw.
Outlaw couldnt get his shot to fall in the 2nd half and got caught in between drives and shots, looking very uncomfortable. The game had no rhythm and Outlaw is most certainly a rhythm player so its understandable that hed be a little off his game, he is a true broken field player.
Martell Webster- Webster has been trying to put the ball on the floor a lot more and create offense for himself, with limited success. As mentioned already, his percentages from the field plummet when hes not catching and shooting. Defensively he had a very hard time with Luke Jackson. Webster was 1-8 to finish with 3 points in 32 minutes.
Detroit Pistons vs. Boston Celtics
Final Score: Detroit Pistons 73 Boston Celtics 69
Halftime Score: Detroit Pistons 44 Boston Celtics 33
Jason Maxiell- Maxiell came out to prove today that his performance in the Summer League so far against undrafted European prospects mostly was not a fluke. He came out right away by sending back a weak hook shot by Al Jefferson, before going back and being rejected by Jefferson on the other end. After settling for mid-range jumpers a little initially he went back to his bread and butter taking the ball strong to the basket relentlessly with mostly successful results in the first half. He had one thunderous dunk over Al Jefferson before coming back on the other end and rejecting Gerald Green emphatically as he skied for a highlight reel dunk attempt. The Celtics rotated three men on Maxiell in the first half; with Jefferson, Perkins and Gomes all having mixed results trying to slow Mad Max in the paint. He had four blocks in the first half, although one of them was clearly goaltending as he sent a Jefferson hook shot that was definitely on its way down to the fifth row. It was sweet to watch regardless. Maxiell finished with 9 points and 4 blocks in the first half.
Maxiell was just as exciting to watch in the 2nd half as well, coming up with one awesome block on Gerald Green, a couple of very strong rebounds and a few huge putbacks on the offensive glass. If Max would have finished off his free throws and maybe hit some of those open mid-range jumpers in the 2nd half his line would have ended up looking much better, but he still had an outstanding game here regardless for what he needed to show. He finished with 17 points, 5 blocks, 4 steals and 3 rebounds.
Alex Acker- Acker continued today right where he left off yesterday, but with some new weapons that we havent seen much out of in Vegas so far. This time he took his man to the baseline and pulled off for a soft jumper from 16 feet out. He also got in the passing lanes to make some heads up steals before finishing on the break. Acker has to be one of the smoothest players here and is already drawing comparisons to Anthony Parker from the European scouts in attendance. The Pistons have to be happy with the last pick in the 2nd round from what they have seen so far. He led all scorers with 13 points in the first half.
Acker slowed down a bit in the 2nd half but still made his way to 20 points for the game. He struggled to keep up with Tony Allen on the defensive end. A beautiful no look feed to Maxiell on the break in the 4th quarter was one of the best plays here. He came up with a number of steals and was much more concerned with getting him teammates into the boxscore than padding his stats himself. That's just the kind of player and kid Acker seems to be from watching him and talking to him off the court. He finished with 18 points and 5 rebounds.
Darko Milicic- Darko continues to embarrass himself here in Vegas with yet another lackluster half. He actually started off well with a reverse dunk and a couple of strong rebounds, but quickly went back to his old ways by settling for that 18 foot jump shot that continued to bounce off the back rim time after time. Defensively he got posted up and scored on badly by Gomes once and generally made Kendrick Perkins look great by giving him too much space and not doing anything to stop his array of predictable hook shots and turnarounds time after time. Darko blew a wide open dunk at the end of the half before redeeming himself somewhat with a block on the other end and a nice move in the post to finish off two more pretty forgettable quarters as far as hes concerned. He finished the half with 6 points and 6 rebounds on 2-6 shooting.
Darko was even worse in the 2nd half somehow, probably because of how lazy and lethargic he was playing. Something is definitely not right in Darko's head right now, you can tell that he is really embarassed to be in the situation that he is in right now, but there is just nothing he can do. This is definitely a lesson for European prospects to learn from in the future. The highlight of the 2nd half on the Darko front was sitting with the Pistons former mascot for seven years, Hooper, who had plenty of interesting stories to share from his years at the Palace. One of the best ones that we can actually print was about Darko rolling into the Pistons training facility one day in his Mercedes Benz convertible blasting the Techno version of Do you believe in life after love? by Cher at full volume.
Darko finished with 8 points and 7 rebounds on 2-8 shooting. He was hitting his free throws (4-5) as usual today. As the Pistons fans around me complained, that is the only part of his game that is any good right now.
Amir Johnson- This game summed up Amir Johnsons summer league pretty well. He ran the floor very hard, finished around the basket thanks to his excellent athletic ability and rebounded as well as he could despite his skinny frame and lack of experience. He didnt score much here except for on dunks, but left a good impression with his attitude and hustle here.
Al Jefferson-Jefferson looks like his feet are in quicksand. I dont know if its the fatigue of a long week or just him adjusting to his newly strengthened body, but Jeffersons moves are slow and methodical and he hasnt shown nearly the fine touch he did last summer.
Al Jefferson needs to get out of Vegas alive at this point. Jefferson looks like he hasnt slept in a while and his play reflects it. On one attempt Al sailed an uncontested dunk into the first row when he lost the handle on it. Both he and Perkins have decided to mail it in for the last game and have substituted pushing and hitting for actual defense. He finished with 2 points (1-8 FG) 7 rebounds and 7 fouls.
Kendrick Perkins-Perkins had a nice running hook across the lane and hit both his free throws after an offensive rebound. Sat on the bench for a long time.
Perkins came alive briefly during the 4th quarter. Perkins made two aggressive moves to the hoop and finished both, gaining an and 1 on his last attempt.
Tony AllenAllen had a very nice reverse-pivot one hander off the glass, but hasnt really been overly involved in the game. Tony had a nice up-and-under lay-in with the foul to finish off the half. He finished the half with 9 points.
Tony Allen was almost the only player to show up for the 2nd half. Allen was all over the court and really filled up the stat sheet. Allen hit three technical free throws to go along with numerous driving lay ups where he took contact and still finished. Allens outside shot was falling for him and he used it to make strong moves to the hoop. Allen was the only real energy for the Celtics, finishing the game with 29 points on 10-15 shooting.
Taylor Coppenrath-Taylor has quietly produced some decent numbers by getting the ball in low and getting to the free throw line. Taylor is very slow to get into his moves, but his hands and footwork are sound and it helps him set up his defender. 8 points, 5 rebounds was Coppenrath's final line.
Gerald Green-Gerald Green is still a babe lost in the woods. Green was affected twice by Darko Milicic on drives to the hoop as he lost the handle on an easy dunk and got stuffed by Milicic on a second attempt. Green needs a lot of seasoning before he can contribute anything but the spectacular play. He finished with 3 points on 1-8 shooting in 20 minutes.
Ryan Gomes-Once again Gomes was the Celtics best player. Gomes got to loose balls, rebounded, and scored when given the ball. Gomes is the epitome of efficiency as he converts on virtually every possession. The Celtics would best be served to get him the ball more in the second half if they want to get back into this game. Had a great fading 10 foot jumper over Milicic to highlight a strong first half, including 8 points and 5 rebounds.
Ryan did the yeomans work for the Celtics once again. Gomes didnt have much run for himself in the 2nd half, but converted on the balls he did get. Ryan closed out a strong double-double with a couple of effortless bank shots off the glass. Gomes almost always comes up with the loose ball and he is involved in almost every possession up for grabs. He really knows how to get himself into a position to make something happen and has been the most consistent player for the Celtics. He finished with 16 points (7-10 FG) and 7 rebounds.
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